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Medicare Bidding Program Endangers Patients, Costs Jobs in Pittsburgh, says American Association for Homecare
Date:4/4/2012

g program, one that some might call bittersweet.

The company, whose main business is oxygen therapy, won five categories of bidding, and in the prominent category it didn't win, it is serving as a subcontractor for the winner.  Andrew Stuart, the company's compliance director, says their Medicare business has increased 23 percent, but acknowledges the company receives less revenue per patient.

"Reality is allowables are down, but volume is up. I wish I could say that they balanced, but they don't," Stuart says. "But we have maintained year over year revenues. More patients served, same revenues, less revenue per patient…for us it has not been a negative. We are alive and breathing."

The key, he says, is that the company was pro-active and did early planning for the bidding program that has allowed it to be successful. "We laid-off 14 people before the bidding program started and have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in technology and infrastructure," Stuart says. "We have also started a home health agency on the respiratory side that has been very successful and won a prestigious award."

Still, while not openly attacking the bidding program, it's clear that Stuart has recognized downsides.

"We lost 20 competitors who are not doing Medicare business anymore," he says. "They either didn't bid or weren't awarded bids.  In their place are a bunch of interlopers from out of town and out of state. In 15 months, none of them have established any bricks or mortar participation in the market place. Quality competitors have been erased and replaced with these interlopers. We've been able to take advantage of this. But it is not satisfying. I know my competitors. I've been doing this for 32 years. These are good people and I feel sorry for them."

Meanwhile, Shirvinsky hopes that in an election year, Congress pays attention to the health threats to Medicare beneficiaries and the impact of jobs losses on local ec
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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