From: The Hill
By Dr. Gary Puckrein
On July 1, the new Medicare competitive bidding program for durable medical products will go into effect nationwide, unless a new move by Congress to delay implementation is passed this week. While the program was created to reduce health care costs, that vision appears to be short-sighted. The policy may actually increase costs longer term by providing our senior citizens with low-quality products, placing more lives at risk of serious health events.
From: Home Care Magazine
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 27, 2013—CMS has announced a delay on the new face-to-face rule effective July 1. A three-month extension moves the deadline to October 1. AAHomecare will provide a more detailed analysis of the announcement shortly. AAHomecare has worked diligently with CMS for many months to have a delay granted. The delay will allow suppliers and the healthcare community to better prepare for the requirements under the rule. Over the course of the next 90 days, AAHomecare will be working with CMS to clarify operational scenarios that arise every day in the life of a DME supplier. The association’s goal is to provide tools and FAQ documents that can help members transition smoothly and with confidence. Go online to www.aahomecare.org.
By REP. GLENN THOMPSON and REP. BRUCE BRALEY
At a time when bipartisanship is rare in Washington, a majority of members of the U.S. House of Representatives recently came together in an attempt to ensure that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) does not put Medicare beneficiaries at risk, when implementing the Competitive Bidding Program for Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS). This bipartisan group, made up of 82 Democrats and 145 Republicans, is urging CMS to delay further implementation of the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program, citing identified abuses and outlining concerns over the agency’s ability to appropriately screen suppliers. Unfortunately, rather than respond, it appears that CMS has decided to run a public relations campaign.
Des Moines, IA (WorkersCompensation.com) – Healthcare advocates and medical equipment suppliers came from across the country to gather in Iowa for a Regulatory Fairness Hearing hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration. Joined by representatives from several Congressional offices, they testified about Medicare’s competitive bidding program and its potential to hurt industry, threaten patients, and cost taxpayers. A number of representatives testified at the hearing, and the groups also submitted dozens of comments to SBA for the hearing’s record. The event followed a similar hearing in Seattle, where independent providers had a strong presence and pressed CMS to delay Round 2 of the competitive bidding program, the expansion which is set to take place July 1.
From: Chicago Tribune
Members of Congress, medical supply companies say process could leave millions of patients in struggle to retain immediate access to life-sustaining supplies
By Peter Frost
Less than two weeks before Medicare plans to roll out a program that aims to cut prices for some of the most-used home medical devices and supplies, members of Congress and medical supply companies are pushing to derail the plan, saying it would have severe unintended consequences.
Medicare’s competitive bidding program, which the agency boasts will save consumers an average of 45 percent on items like diabetic test supplies, walkers, hospital beds and oxygen tanks, is scheduled to go into effect July 1 for 91 metropolitan areas, including Chicago.
From: Medscape Medical News
A major change in US Medicare reimbursement rules beginning July 1 will save money but will drastically limit the number of vendors from which beneficiaries with diabetes can obtain glucose-testing supplies.
There are fears in some quarters that this disruption may lead to people not accessing the supplies they need, resulting in a decline in self-monitoring of glucose and subsequent adverse outcomes. However, others stress that diabetics receiving Medicare will gain financially, as their copays for their supplies will drop.
Probe by Tennessee Senators, Representatives Finds 30 of 98 Medicare Suppliers in Tennessee Not Licensed by State
From: WGNS Radio
Members of the Tennessee United States congressional delegation announced that their inquiry into whether the administration awarded Medicare contracts to businesses not licensed in Tennessee has resulted in the finding that 30 of 98 suppliers were not licensed and will have their contracts voided.
From: Press Release
The American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare), along with a home medical equipment provider from Maryland, announced today the filing of a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., asking that the scheduled July 1 expansion of the Medicare competitive bidding program (CBP) for durable medical equipment (DME) be stopped because of serious licensing irregularities.
The lawsuit names Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as the defendant. HHS oversees the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which designed and implemented the controversial bidding program that provides oxygen therapy, power wheelchairs, respiratory assistance, hospital beds, diabetic testing supplies, and other critical home medical equipment to Medicare beneficiaries.
Editor’s Note: CMS continues to push a competitive bidding program that might generate short term savings but in the long run will reduce competition by eliminating the small but efficient providers as explained by a number of leading economists. A judge describes CMS actions in a more direct manner.
From: Ron Bendell
President, VGM & Associates, Ltd.
Editor’s Note: The failings of CMS’ secret screening program for bidders has long been established. CRE advised CMS years aso to allow all qualified DME suppliers to continue providing DME services, supplies and equipment to Medicare beneficiaries. Unfortunately, CMS rejected CRE’s advice and instead allowed unqualified suppliers to receive “competitive” bididng contracts while driving thousands of small companies out of business.
From: The Tennessean
Medicare says companies didn’t meet Tennessee requirements
Written by Getahn Ward
The federal Medicare program has dropped nearly a third of the companies chosen to continue supplying home medical equipment to beneficiaries statewide, leaving even fewer suppliers as part of its controversial competitive bidding program set to kick off in Tennessee in less than two weeks.