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Home Medical Equipment Providers and Lawmakers Discuss Cost-Effective Role of Homecare During Washington Meeting
Date:3/5/2010

Pittsburgh Medical Center, among others.

The initial roll-out of the bidding program in 2008 produced disastrous results for home medical patients and for providers (mostly small businesses) that were excluded from Medicare as a result of the first round of bidding. These problems will occur again, including:

  • Disruption to patient services – Patients were forced to go to multiple, unfamiliar providers for different items and services.  Informal surveys showed that some winning providers were unable to provide care to beneficiaries.
  • Greater costs to Medicare due to longer hospital stays – Patients were confused about the restricted list of contracted home medical providers; hospital discharges were delayed; and unnecessary emergency room visits were triggered.
  • Non-local providers – Providers with no history of servicing a geographic area or no operations in a bidding area were awarded contracts.
  • Inexperienced/unlicensed providers – Companies were awarded Medicare contracts to provide equipment and services for which they had little or no previous experience providing.
  • Suicide/Desperation bidding – Structural flaws in the bidding program caused providers to submit artificially low bids because they were faced with the threat of losing their practices if not awarded a contract. Winning contracts were viewed as commodities that could be sold once a bid was won.


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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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