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Independent Study Concludes Medicare 'Competitive' Bidding Program for Durable Medical Equipment Could Negatively Affect Care Access, Quality, and Choice for Seniors and People with Disabilities
Date:9/14/2010

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new study conducted by Dobson | DaVanzo & Associates found that the Medicare "competitive" bidding program for durable medical equipment (DME) may limit Medicare beneficiaries' access to home medical equipment and services and could reduce the quality of products that Medicare consumers rely on.  

DME providers serve the medical needs of millions of Americans who require oxygen equipment and therapy, mobility assistive technologies, medical supplies, inhalation drug therapy, home infusion, and other home medical equipment, therapies, services, and supplies in the home. The bidding program for home medical equipment and services is scheduled to take effect in nine metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S. in January 2011 including Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas-Fort Worth, Kansas City, Miami, Orlando, Pittsburgh, and Riverside, Calif.  An additional 91 areas are scheduled to start the bidding program later in 2011.

The report was released the day before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee scheduled a hearing on the controversial bidding program.

"There are several problems inherent in CMS's design of the competitive bidding process that create perverse incentives and may result in unsustainable low bids from suppliers," concluded Dobson | DaVanzo in its report, "The Risks to Medicare Beneficiaries of DMEPOS (durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies) Competitive Bidding – Considerations for Round 1 Re-Bid and Beyond."  

"Furthermore, the competitive bidding program design does not provide beneficiaries with adequate protections against degradation in care or service."

"The results of DMEPOS provider competition based on price, rather than quality of supplies or customer service, may result in significant reductions to the quality of items and services beneficiaries need to remain at home, independently," states the
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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