Has CMS already forgotten that DME took a 9.5% reduction in fees for the 10 categories that were up for bid in Round One of the competitive bid project last summer? And has CMS forgottent that the cut was taken simply to allow a DELAY in the program? The simple fact that our industry was willing to take a nearly 10% cut to delay a program does not indicate that we as an industry are overpaid…it indicates that we as an industry were trying to buy time to figure out how to survive.
I know that our small company in west central Indiana can not begin to truly compete with large regional and national players in a competitive bidding environment. But I do know this: Our patients and customers will consistently receive better care and service than most regional and national companies will ever provide.
I find it interesting that at the same time that CMS is demanding accreditation for DME, which in theory provides better patient care, our industry is constantly compared to internet-based companies that are not required to offer any care or service. CMS constantly states that an oxygen concentrator can be purchased over the internet for substantially less money than CMS pays a DME dealer. How true! If Internet companies had to be accredited, adhere to CMS supplier standards(which includes a physical brick and mortar location), bill the purchase price to the buyer in 36 monthly installments, offer 24 hour emergency service, warranty repairs on demand, and a backup system in the event of power failure, I believe that the internet price might be slightly higher!
In conclusion, competitive bidding is nothing more than an attempt by CMS to weed out a significant number of smaall DME providers.