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Medicare Procurement Program Creates Extreme Hardships for Patients without Options, Says AAHomecare
Date:10/24/2013

r her physician's instructions. Now, she's discouraged and doubts she'll ever get the chair she needs through Medicare. Instead, she has resorted to searching the local want ads on the off chance that a used one might become available.

Although Charleston used to have six Medicare-approved power wheelchair providers, there are none left because of the bidding program.

"Lots of dealers are deciding they just won't handle Medicare anymore," she explains. Norma doesn't want her or her husband to be institutionalized. She wants to stay in her home, but realizes that will be very difficult without the wheelchair that Medicare is supposed to provide.

"To be able to stay in your own home with hospice is a blessing. And it's the cheapest thing that the government can do to take care of people in their older age," Norma says. "It's scary to think that because you can't replace a chair, being put in an institution might be inevitable. I don't want to get to the point where my husband has to go to a nursing home, and I have to have someone come in to care for me. And that's exactly what would happen. In the long run it would be so much more expensive for everybody. It just doesn't make any sense."

Despite CMS claims to the contrary, people like the Westbrooks are suffering because of the badly mismanaged Medicare bidding program. It has put hundreds of providers of durable medical equipment (DME) out of business, created equipment shortages, and left beneficiaries without doctor-prescribed equipment, such as oxygen tanks, power wheelchairs, hospital beds, walkers, and diabetic supplies.

"It's disturbing that CMS is claiming everything is fine when people are suffering," said Tom Ryan, president of the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare). "The bidding program is bad public policy that needs to be fixed or stopped. CMS must acknowledge t
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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