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

he real problems that Medicare patients are encountering. How can they expect anyone to believe that they have only received a handful of complaints when more than 2,000 people have reached out to a private organization for help addressing their problems?"

According to a May 2012 GAO report titled Review of the First Year of CMS's Durable Medical Equipment Competitive Bidding Program's Round 1 Rebid, the agency may be intentionally undercounting the number of problems. "CMS's definition of inquiry and complaint may be an optimistic characterization of beneficiary calls," the report states. "According to CMS, all calls are first classified as inquiries and are only classified as complaints when they remain unresolved by CSRs [customer service representatives]."

Ryan said that CMS hasn't changed the way it classifies calls from beneficiaries, so it is not surprising that their numbers are unrealistically low. However, he believes that even the People for Quality Care number is "just the tip of the iceberg."

AAHomecare has contacted several Medicare patients who are not receiving quality service or equipment because of the bidding program. Here are their stories.

***

Louis Tarbarelli can't leave his house because he doesn't have the right oxygen. Although his doctor prescribed a new form of oxygen therapy several months ago, he didn't receive the new oxygen until October 1, and when it finally came, it had no instructions. Louis has been afraid to handle it.

He has reason to be hesitant; the temperature of liquid oxygen is -250 degrees Celsius and can cause serious burns if spilled. Louis immediately called his new provider, who is located in Massachusetts, several hours from his Rhode Island home. But they told him
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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