• A Witness to the Impact of Competitive Bidding

    CRE received a call on our DME Competitive Bidding Hotline from “a witness to watching” what her mother had to got through to get a piece of equipment for a sleep apnea machine.  The call came from Charlotte, NC, a Round 1 competitive bidding area.  The caller, a nurse, explained that “you can’t Wal-Mart health care” and asked “what’s the next thing, Euthanasia, that’s what it looks like it is coming to.”

    The complete transcript of the call may be found on our Discussion Forum.

    Below is a link to the audio recording of the call.

  • Medicare changes could harm patients, increase waste

    From: South Florida Sun-Sentinel

    Nicole Brochu

    Sun Sentinel Columnist

    7:35 AM EDT, March 29, 2011

    With Medicare taking up a big chunk of the federal budget, and of many Americans’ health care, the government has been instituting changes to make the process more efficient, less wasteful and more user-friendly. That’s the line we hear anyway. The reality is often much different. In the piece below, guest writer Eli Lehrer sounds the alarm for changes to the Medicare bidding process for certain medical equipment that can put patients in grave danger, and actually drive up costs. Give it a read and give us your thoughts in the comment section below. If you have a perspective to share on a hot health topic, e-mail it to nbrochu@tribune.com. — Nicole Brochu

  • New Program Puts Millions at Risk

    From: Front Page Magazine

    Posted By Tait Trussell

    A bipartisan House bill to be introduced this week aims to block a new ObamaCare program that’s putting the health and often the lives of millions of Americans at risk. The program was launched in the nation’s nine largest cities in January, with 91 other major cities forced to comply later in 2011.

    The program affects millions of Medicare beneficiaries who must have oxygen therapy, tube feeding, breathing assistance devices, and diabetic supplies, as well as those needing wheelchairs and hospital beds. It severely restricts the access, quality and choice of both the elderly and the disabled by limiting the number of companies allowed to furnish equipment and services necessary for living and well-being. In some cases to ill-equipped providers are chosen.

  • GAO says Medicare program unsustainable in its present form

    From: CCH /Aspen Publishers

    GAO says Medicare program unsustainable in its present form Medicare continues to be a high risk program because of its size, and its vulnerability to making improper payments to suppliers and providers according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Medicare in its current form is unsustainable and will need to be changed to achieve efficiency and savings in the program, said the GAO report.

    Issues and challenges

  • Sen. Roberts Asks White House for Executive Order Review of Competitive Bidding

    On February 15th, CRE sent a letter to HHS’ Acting General Counsel requesting that the DME competitive bidding program be reviewed under the retrospective review provisions of Executive Order 13563 because the program contradicts “the President’s regulatory goals by needlessly sacrificing thousands of small businesses and tens of thousands of jobs.”

    On March 10th, Senator Pat Roberts took the important step of informing the White House that competitive bidding is among the programs that should be reviewed under the EO because of concerns about their negative economic impacts.  The Senator also told the President that, now that Round 1 has been implemented, “I am concerned that patients, especially in rural areas, are facing issues related to access.”

  • H.R. 1041 Introduced to Repeal Competitive Bidding

    From: Home Care Magazine

    WASHINGTON — Washington legislators will get a strong message from HME providers attending the American Association for Homecare Legislative Conference this week: Support H.R. 1041.

    The new bill to repeal DMEPOS competitive bidding, called the Fairness in Medicare Bidding Act, was introduced Friday by Reps. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., and Glenn Thompson, R-Pa.

    “It would be a full repeal and be budget-neutral,” said Altmire press aide Tess Mullen.

    The two congressmen, long champions of home care, will discuss the bill at a Capitol Hill press conference tomorrow morning. Altmire will further detail the bill in his scheduled speech at the AAHomecare conference on Wednesday, Mullen said.

  • Will There be Oversight on April 5th?

    CMS has announced that the  Program Advisory and Oversight Committee (PAOC) on April 5, 2011.  PAOC is the independent advisory committe that is supposed to provide meaningful oversight of the CMS competitive bidding program as charged by Congress.  Whether any meaningful oversight will take place is TBD.

    Meeting information:

    Date: April 5, 2011
    Time: 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time)

    Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
    7500 Security Boulevard
    Baltimore, Maryland 21244

  • New DMEPOS Supplier Safeguards Proposed Rule

    CMS sent a Proposed Rule to OMB today for review concerning:  Revisions to Certain Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) Suppliers Safeguards (CMS-6036-P2).  The proposed rule was not included in CMS’ Unified Agenda of planned regulatory actions.  CMS states that there is a judicial deadline for the rule.

  • Loaded Letter: CRE Takes New Aim at Competitive Bidding

    From: Home Care Magazine

    WASHINGTON — The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness fired another shot against competitive bidding last month, sending a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services that asks for a retrospective review of the CMS program.

    In the Feb. 15 letter, addressed to HHS acting General Counsel Sally Howard, the CRE, a regulatory watchdog organization, cited President Obama’s Jan. 18 executive order calling for a new regulatory strategy as the catalyst for such a review. In his order, the president directed federal agencies to submit plans for review of existing regulations to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within 120 days.

  • Medical Equipment Suppliers Struggling Under New Medicare Competitive Bidding Program

    From: Becker’s ASC Review

    Medical equipment suppliers are finding it hard to remain financially viable as CMS rolls out a new competitive bidding program, according to a Crain’s Cleveland Business news report.

    Under the new program, which went into effect this year in nine regions and is set to expand to other regions later this year, only medical equipment suppliers that win competitively bid contracts with the federal government can be reimbursed by CMS. The program is supposed to help save the agency approximately $28 billion over the next 10 years, but suppliers are having trouble adjusting to the new system.