Navigation Links
Montana Home Medical Equipment Providers Push to Repeal Medicare Bidding Program, Back Congressional Bill to End Controversial Program

MISSOULA, Mont., May 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Montana home medical equipment and services (HME) providers are calling for the repeal of Medicare's "competitive" bidding program for home medical equipment and services. Montana homecare providers have banded together to support H.R. 1041, a bi-partisan bill in the House that would repeal competitive bidding, and they are meeting with Montana Senators to push for the introduction of a similar bill in the Senate.

"The competitive bidding program jeopardizes the health of Medicare patients by limiting their access to potentially life-saving products and services," said Mike Calcaterra, Big Sky Association of Home Medical Equipment Suppliers state chairman. "Five providers that we know of have already closed their doors due to Medicare cuts and programs. This number will grow if competitive bidding reaches our state. When these businesses close, Medicare patients will face further disruptions in services that will compromise their access to quality care."

The bidding program affects millions of Medicare beneficiaries nationwide who require oxygen therapy, enteral nutrients (tube feeding), continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) and respiratory assistive devices, power wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds and support surfaces, and mail-order diabetic supplies.  The program was implemented on January 1 in nine metropolitan areas and it begins in an additional 91 areas later this year. The first nine areas are Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas-Fort Worth, Kansas City, Miami, Orlando, Pittsburgh, and Riverside, California.

"Homecare has always been a cost-effective means of delivering care to seniors and patients," said Calcaterra. "But the government is overlooking the fact that homecare is less expensive than hospital visits and nursing home stays. The 'competitive' bidding program is being marketed as a cost-savings tool, when in reality the only thing it will do is cost seniors and patients their health, and taxpayers more money in the long run to pay for increased hospitalizations. We cannot chance the well-being of America's seniors for political play."

The bill to repeal the bidding program, H.R. 1041, has 98 cosponsors so far in the House of Representatives with broad support from both Republicans and Democrats. Homecare providers in Montana are also meeting with Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester's staffs to discuss the need for a similar bill to repeal competitive bidding in Senate.  


A number of patient advocacy and consumer groups also support H.R. 1041 including the ALS Association, the Brain Injury Association of America, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, the International Ventilator Users Network, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Emphysema and COPD Association, the National Council on Independent Living, the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, and United Spinal Association, among others.  

The legislation to repeal the bidding program was introduced after hundreds of patients and providers reported problems with the program since its January 1 implementation.  By design, the bidding program severely restricts the number of companies that are allowed to provide the equipment and services subject to bidding.  Since the bidding program began on January 1, patients, clinicians, and homecare providers have reported:

  • Difficulty finding a local equipment or service provider;
  • Delays in obtaining medically required equipment and services;
  • Longer than necessary hospital stays due to trouble discharging patients to home-based care;
  • Far fewer choices for patients when selecting equipment or providers;
  • Reduced quality; and
  • Confusing or incorrect information provided by Medicare.

In January, the American Association for Homecare shared with Medicare a number of problems and concerns related to the bidding program including:

  • Medicare awarded contracts to companies that are bankrupt.
  • Medicare awarded contracts to companies that are not licensed to provide the specific medical items or services.  
  • Medicare awarded contracts to companies with serious credit problems.
  • Medicare distributed incorrect information about the contract winners.

In a November 2010 letter, 167 leading economists and auction experts, including two Nobel laureates, warned Congress that Medicare's bidding design for medical equipment will fail. Those experts found that the bidding program designed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has irreparable flaws that will prevent it from achieving its objectives of low cost and high quality equipment and services. Under the CMS-designed system, the bidding companies are not bound by their bids, which undermines the credibility of the process and encourages "low-ball" bids that create an unsustainable process and threaten the long-term viability of the program.  

Ultimately, the experts told Congress, the bid design provides "strong incentives to distort bids away from [actual] costs," and lacks transparency, which is "unacceptable in a government auction and is in sharp contrast to well-run government auctions." The experts' letters conclude, "This collection of problems suggests that the program over time may degenerate into a 'race to the bottom' in which suppliers become increasingly unreliable, product and service quality deteriorates, and supply shortages become common. Contract enforcement would become increasingly difficult and fraud and abuse would grow... Implementation of the current design will result in a failed government program."

Big Sky Association of Home Medical Equipment Suppliers is dedicated to promoting ethical and professional home medical services to the patients of Idaho and Montana. Our members adhere to strict professional practices to provide the highest quality services available. Visit

SOURCE Big Sky Association of Home Medical Equipment Suppliers
Copyright©2010 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine technology :

1. Montana Supreme Court Decision Endangers Most Vulnerable Citizens
2. Montana Medical Equipment Providers Back New Congressional Bill to Repeal Flawed Medicare Bidding Program
3. Harvard Medical School-Partners HealthCare Center for Genetics and Genomics Successfully Completes Evaluation of AutoGenomics 2C9-VKORC1 Panel to Assess Warfarin Sensitivity
4. You May Have a Thyroid Problem and Not Know It - Particularly If Youre Over 60, Says a New Harvard Medical School Report
5. Harvard Medical School-Partners HealthCare Center for Genetics and Genomics Successfully Completes Evaluation of AutoGenomics 2C9-VKORC1 Panel to Assess Warfarin Sensitivity
6. Globus Medical Raises $110 Million in Series E Financing Round
7. Quark Pharmaceuticals Appoints New Chief Medical Officer
8. Boston University Biomedical Engineers Find Chink in Bacterias Armor
9. Rochester Medical Anti-Infection Foley Catheter Demonstrates Effectiveness in Randomized Trial
10. Rockwell Medical Technologies, Inc. Begins Patient Enrollment for its SFP Dose-Ranging Study
11. Flexible Medical Systems Raises $1.2M Seed Investment for Initial Human Trials
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016   Pulmatrix, Inc ., ... developing innovative inhaled drugs, announced today that it was ... Investments reconstituted its comprehensive set of U.S. and ... "This is an important milestone for Pulmatrix," said Chief ... shareholder awareness of our progress in developing drugs for ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Any dentist who has made an implant ... process. Many of them do not even offer this as ... high laboratory costs involved. And those who ARE able to ... a high cost that the majority of today,s patients would ... Parsa Zadeh , founder of Dental Evolutions Inc. and inventor ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... June 23, 2016 Capricor ... ), a biotechnology company focused on the discovery, ... that patient enrollment in its ongoing randomized HOPE-Duchenne ... exceeded 50% of its 24-patient target. Capricor expects ... third quarter of 2016, and to report top ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial Library on June 21 due to a possible lice ... overlooked aspect of head lice: the parasite’s ability to live away from a human host, ... a necessary one in the event that lice have simply gotten out of control. , ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Dr. Calvin Johnson has dedicated ... has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method for treating his patients. The procedure ... doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are substances that orthopaedic surgeons use to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced ... feelings, many turn to unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a ... has released tools for healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Global law ... magazine’s 2016 Legal Elite. The attorneys chosen by their peers for this recognition are ... , Seven Greenberg Traurig Shareholders received special honors as members of this year’s Legal ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... People across the ... Genome magazine’s Code Talker Award, an essay contest in which patients and their families ... to be presented at the 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):