The collective and tireless efforts of AAHomecare, AMEPA, CAMPS, FAHCS, NAIMES,
NCAMES, OAMES, PAMS, TAHCS, and VGM have led to its introduction. At the time the bill was introduced, there were 16 original co-sponsors.
IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED! Call and e-mail your member of Congress TODAY and ask for SUPPORT for H.R. 3790
The text of the bill may be found here.
Background and talking points may be found here.
To contact your representative, dial the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Provide the operator with your ZIP Code to get you connected with your legislator’s DC Office. Contact information may also be found by visiting the VGM DC Link at www.vgmdclink.com.
The following is a press release from the Accredited Medical Equipment Providers of America (AMEPA):
Today, U.S. Representative Kendrick Meek (D-FL) introduced a budget neutral bill to repeal the highly criticized competitive bidding program in DMEPOS, H.R. 3790
Congressman Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.), who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, understands the plight of the DME industry and the negative situations that will occur for the entire industry if competitive bidding is fully implemented. Not only will providers in the Round One areas be affected by the elimination of companies and lower reimbursements, but patients will also suffer from lack of service and the availability of quality equipment and timely services. New legislation will also allow HHS Secretary Sebelius to enact Round One reimbursement rates nationwide. Historically, private insurance carriers match Medicare’s reimbursements.
In a letter to members of congress asking for support of his legislation Meek noted:
“The Medicare competitive bid program for durable medical equipment and services (Title XVIII of the Social Security Act) began in July 2008, as a well-intentioned effort to improve quality of service and eliminate excess costs in Medicare. However there was nothing competitive about the misconceived program. There are serious flaws in the bidding process which produced few competitors, fewer homecare services and a decrease in the quality healthcare and those with disabilities who require the right care and equipment in order to live.”
“Congress delayed the program only two weeks after it began, in a clear acknowledgement that the bidding process was deeply flawed and needed fixing. For example, contracts were awarded to
– suppliers without a physical location in or near the bid area and who were unable to provide the equipment or services to patients;
-unlicensed providers (in violation state standards); and
-fly-by-night operations with no experience in providing bid items.
“However, in the 14 months since the competitive bidding program has been delayed, no significant improvements have been made to the process. In October, 2009, the program is due to begin again. We cannot allow it to restart.”
The bill has 16 initial co-sponsors including:
Jason Altmire (D-PA)
John Boccieri (D-OH)
Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO)
Sam Farr (D-CA)
Marcia Fudge (D-OH)
Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
Ron Klein (D-FL)
Dan Maffei (D-NY)
John Murtha (D-PA)
Tim Ryan (D-OH)
Heath Shuler (D-NC)
Glenn Thompson (R-PA)
Patrick Tiberi (R-OH)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
Robert Wexler (D-FL)
Roger Ribas, FAHCS President, commented, “Meek would have filed this bill alone if it was not for the hard work and dedication of the state associations represented in Round One and beyond. AAHomecare has been working with the state leaders for months now and a tremendous amount of thanks goes to AAH, CAMPS, MAMES, NCAMES, NYMEP, OAMES, PAMS and TAHCS for getting those additional co-sponsors.”
Ribas added, “With the expansion of Round Two MSAs, the threat of Medicare implementing Round One prices nationwide, and the examples of other insurance carriers mimicking competitive bid prices, this is a bill that the entire industry can stand behind. Even though providers are working harder than ever to just survive and preparing to place their re-bid in a few weeks, it will take the efforts from everyone, regardless of where they are located, to enact this into law.”
To gain support from a Congress dealing with budget deficits and health care changes, the Bill is budget neutral, calling for minor cuts (in all DME except Group 3 Complex Rehab) of 0.25% for three years and a single 0.5% cut 2 years later combined with a Consumer Price Index freeze. AAHomecare reviewed the actuary figures, which added to the 9.5% cut we took in January 2009 is equal to 19.5%, the same savings projected from the Demonstration Projects, which the program was based on.
A simple example is that for the first three years (2010, 2011, 2012): For every 100,000 in Non-Complex Rehab DME, a total of $250 in reimbursement would be forfeited and any CPI increases.
The following summation was provided by AAHomecare:
The pay-for competitive bidding repeal legislation would eliminate the CPI-U updates for all DME in 2010, 2011, and 2012 (i.e., no update in these years). Then, the DME fee schedule would be reduced by 0.25 percentage points in each of these three years.
Complex rehabilitative power wheelchairs recognized by the Secretary as classified within group 3 or higher would receive a CPI-U update in 2010, 2011, and 2012.
In 2013, all DME would receive a CPI-U update.
In 2014, all DME would receive a CPI-U update. Complex rehabilitative power wheelchairs recognized by the Secretary as classified within group 3 or higher would receive a CPI-U update plus 2 percentage points. All other DME would receive the CPI-U only with no additional 2 percentage point increase.
In 2015, complex rehabilitative power wheelchairs recognized by the Secretary as classified within group 3 or higher would receive a CPI-U update. All other DME would receive no CPI-U update as well as a 0.5 percentage point reduction in fee schedule payments.
In 2016 and subsequent years, all DME would receive the CPI-U update annually.
Click here to view the bill.