Bidding issues hamper access to home medical equipment
By Kory Young
As a home medical equipment (HME) provider, I am concerned with significant flaws in the current competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment (DME) in Medicare.
Over 200 economists and auction experts from around the world have publicly stated that the current Medicare competitive bidding program is not sustainable in its current form. It will create significant barriers to access and will destroy the HME infrastructure upon which our seniors and people with disabilities rely.
Additionally, the Wall Street Journal is also noting the flaws of this CMS program, calling it “idiotic” and “designed for failure.” The article states: Several medical equipment providers have respectfully requested that their legislators work for passage of legislation that would replace the current bid program with a sustainable bid system supported by the HME sector and many beneficiary and consumer groups, known as the market pricing program (MPP).
Patients are already experiencing access problems in “round one” areas.
Since the January 1, 2011, implementation of this program, hundreds of patients and providers have reported problems and complaints about getting physician-prescribed home medical equipment and services. This program has clearly failed and needs to be replaced as soon as possible.
To fix these serious problems within the competitive bidding structure, the HME sector developed a legislative proposal that fixes the fundamental flaws. The MPP proposal would require that CMS make some fundamental changes to ensure a financially sustainable program. It uses an auction system to establish market-based prices around the country. These changes are consistent with Congress’ original intent: to create a program that is based on competition and market prices, while maintaining beneficiary access to quality items and services. The proposal is intended to be at least budget-neutral.
As a home medical equipment provider with locations throughout the state of Utah, we are very concerned how this may limit access to care for all Medicare beneficiaries as well as force HME businesses out of business as it did in round one. Utah is included in round two of this program, which is now open for bid. The MPP proposal should be considered as a replacement to the fatally flawed current program.Kory Young Woods Cross
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