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Homecare Provider Testifies on Downside of Medicare 'Competitive' Bidding Program Before House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee
Date:9/15/2010

chair, I am in contact with patients every day. It scares me to think of what will happen to these patients if this bidding program becomes reality.

The current marketplace - without competitive bidding - requires homecare providers to compete for patients on the basis of service and choice, to furnish the home medical equipment that makes the most clinical sense for the beneficiary. We are currently reimbursed under fee schedule in Medicare, which CMS and Congress have cut repeatedly and disproportionately over the past decade.  So the contention that the DMEPOS fee schedule is outdated and is based on pricing from 25 years ago is incorrect.  The home medical equipment sector has already seen reimbursement cuts of nearly 50 percent to the Medicare fee schedule over the past decade. The bidding program is not the way to address problems with the fee schedule. In the end, the flawed bidding system will simply reduce the number of bona fide competitors in the marketplace and create underserved, unhappy and unhealthy beneficiaries.

Despite all the quality assurance and measuring tools that CMS has previously touted, patients and even most physicians will not know if they are getting clinically appropriate equipment and services until negative outcomes appear.

If every patient who needed a cushion or support surface were placed on the least-expensive skin protection device, most of those patients' pressure ulcers would worsen and they would end up in the emergency department or be admitted to hospitals for surgical debridement.  In these cases, which I believe will be increasingly common under the bidding program, costs will increase while patient care will be compromised and negative outcomes will become commonplace.

In my written testimony, I provide details about how this bidding program will affect home oxygen and diabetic patients and the negative impact competitive bidding could well have on patient care during a weath
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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