• Proposal Attempts to Head Off Texas Bid for Incontinence Supplies

    From: Home Care Magazine

    AUSTIN, Texas — With Texas’ Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) and the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts (TCPA) moving ahead on a proposed rule to allow competitive bidding for Medicaid incontinence supplies, the Medical Equipment Suppliers Association (MESA) has submitted an alternate proposal.

    “The TCPA alleges that it’s open to alternatives, and we’ve given the agency a comprehensive proposal that includes licensure, mandatory accreditation, surety bonds, criminal background checks, and a lower maximum allowable for diapers, briefs and underpads; the MESA proposal meets all of the goals stated as being the impetus for the initiative,” MESA Executive Director Liz Moran said in a release.

    In September, the Medical Care Advisory Committee (MCAC) voted not to recommend approval of the rule for publication. But the HHSC and the TCPA contend that by using competitive bidding for incontinence supplies, the state could reduce opportunities for fraud and abuse and leverage buying power, with savings totaling up to $15.2 million a year.

    According to the TCPA, more than 3,000 DMEPOS providers are enrolled in Texas Medicaid, and about 1,440 provided incontinence supplies to beneficiaries in 2009.

    “The TCPA has point-blank said that they want to reduce the number of providers, combat fraud and save money,” Moran said. “Instead of looking for easy outs and consulting out-of-state companies notorious for trying to obtain single-source contracts, the TCPA and the HHSC need to improve their own performances and accept responsibility for a system that’s long needed updating.

    “Somewhere along the way,” she continued, “they lost sight of the fact that the DME businesses in the state contribute to the economy, keep people gainfully employed and serve their Medicaid clients very well. The agencies also fail to understand that health care should never be an auction item. They’re not dealing with pens and paper clips here.”

    Moran added that the implementation of such a procurement program “will send the vast majority of incontinence reimbursements to a different state.”

    Items that would be included in the procurement initiative include diapers, underpads, ostomy supplies and catheters. The United Ostomy Associations of America has endorsed the MESA plan.

    A third stakeholder conference on the proposed program is scheduled for Jan. 27, 2011.

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