Medicare Program Under Fire

From Watchdog Watch

At least three different serious concerns have been raised regarding the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) competitive bidding program for home medical equipment.

First, the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE) has received allegations against the third-party organizations that accredit medical equipment suppliers. Among the charges are that one of the accrediting organizations is cutting corners on the accreditation process, possibly with CMS’ knowledge and consent. CRE is undertaking their own investigation of the allegations.

Second, about 90% of home medical equipment supply companies are small businesses. Many firms have expressed concern that the competitive bidding program will put them out of business. The result would be consolidation of the industry into a relative handful of “too big to fail” companies. CRE has urged the government to modify the program to protect small businesses.

The most serious concerns have been raised by Medicare beneficiaries. They fear that the competitive bidding program will mean that they need to change equipment suppliers from companies that take care of them to other firms which may have far less concern about their health. CRE has established a toll-free hotline for Medicare beneficiaries who receive home medical equipment, 1-800-613-7678. CRE will be posting calls on their competitive bidding Interactive Public Docket’s Discussion Forum found at http://www.thecre.com/Forum/.

CRE is a Medicare Watchdog, investigating and intervening in the competitive bidding program to protect people who receive home medical equipment.

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