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Medicare Bidding Program Puts Diabetic Patients in Danger
Date:7/11/2013

en sharply criticized by Congress, academics, the DME industry, and patient advocates since launching in nine localities in 2011.

One of the major complaints is that the program allows non-binding bids, which means providers can submit unrealistically low bids that are then used to calculate the prices for products and services, but the bidders have no commitment to sign contracts for the amounts of their bids. Yet, these bids are still used in the formula that sets prices.

When CMS announced earlier this year an average 45 percent price cut for most DME items and 72 percent for diabetic testing supplies, many providers were forced to lay off workers, close their businesses, or no longer service Medicare patients. In addition, Medicare beneficiaries report instances where new providers contracted under the initial stage of the bidding program were endangering their health by not providing either the equipment or the level of service they had received previously.

"Byram Healthcare Centers is a national distributor of diabetes testing supplies, but we did not win a contract for them. When Round 2 of the CMS Competitive Bid Program went live on July 1, my company was expecting to see an immediate and significant impact to our business and our customers, and we were not surprised," said Mignone. "My company has had to deal with reducing staff and costs, while consumers and healthcare professionals still call us for help. Customers have reported difficulty connecting to busy providers since there seems to be a shortage of providers who were awarded contracts. We hav
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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