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Homecare Association Says CMS Pricing For DME Equipment Will Endanger Seniors, Cost Jobs, And Force Business Closures
Date:1/30/2013

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pricing data released today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will result in the government's poorly designed bidding program continuing to disrupt Medicare patients' access to vital home medical equipment such as oxygen therapy, power wheelchairs, and hospital beds.

While CMS, which administers the Medicare program, alleges it will save an average of 45 percent on certain medical equipment by extending its controversial bidding program to 91 new areas, those so-called savings are created by a sharp decline in utilization of home medical equipment by Medicare patients. Experts say the unrealistic low prices for durable medical equipment (DME), like the ones announced today, are forcing providers in the affected communities to go out of business or no longer offer products or services to Medicare beneficiaries.

"It's ironic that a program that is supposed to increase competition among providers is actually reducing competition, costing jobs in communities, and putting Medicare patients at risk," said Tyler Wilson , president of the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare). "This program is spiraling out of control. Providers, consumer advocates, and economists are urgently calling on Congress to adopt a better system."

The Medicare bidding program uses economic coercion to force homecare providers to submit unsustainable bids necessary to win a contract. Because Medicare is the largest third-party purchaser of home medical care, its market power effectively compels providers to bid at unsustainable reimbursement rates to ensure the opportunity to continue serving Medicare beneficiaries. Thus far, 244 economists, more than two dozen consumer and disability groups, 186 members of Congress, and the National Federation of Independent Business have opposed the current bidding system.  

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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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