• Competitive bidding…This whole concept is bogus

    Editor’s Note:  The following article was submitted to CRE by a DME supplier in Texas.  CRE is pleased to present the suppliers’ complete and unedited comments.

    This whole concept is bogus.  As the owner of a small DME business, I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars to upgrade my business, the equipment we serve the public with, and to be able to become accredited, and have made great sacrifice for our community.  This will all be for naught if we do not win a bid in the upcoming process.  We will just close and go away.  Thousands of workers will lose their jobs across the country, and the tax rolls will decrease and the welfare roles will increase as this process works itself out.

  • CRE Applauds White House Announcement of Plan for “A Simpler, Smarter Regulatory System” – Asks for Redress of Job-Killing CMS Program

    The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness welcomes the Obama Administration’s plan “to create a 21st-century regulatory system” including “an unprecedented government-wide review to eliminate tens of millions of hours in annual red-tape, and billions of dollars in regulatory costs…”  CRE will further congratulate the Administration when the plan yields tangible success.

    As Jim Tozzi of CRE’s Board of Advisor’s recently noted at gathering honoring the 30th anniversary of the White House’s office for regulatory review, OIRA-the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, “Washington is littered with Executive Orders that never got off the ground.”  Unfortunately, the plan components are top down, not bottom up. There is little input from stakeholders other than perfunctory requests for comments.

  • OIRA’s 30th Anniversary

    The thirtieth anniversary of OMB’s regulatory review office, OIRA–the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, was celebrated on Friday, May 20th.  The event was sponsored by Susan Dudley, a former OIRA Administrator, who presently heads the George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center.

    Virtually all former Administrator’s and Deputy Administrators made presentations, including Jim Tozzi, the first Deputy Administrator of OIRA.

    The Bureau of National Affairs Reports:

    Jim Tozzi, the first deputy administrator of OIRA, said the institution gives a protective shield against the wholesale dismantling of regulatory agencies, which play an integral role in society.

  • US Rep. Sue Myrick hosting luncheon with healthcare lobbying group

    US Rep. Sue Myric will give the introduction and opening comments as host of a luncheon scheduled May 24 titled “Competitive Bidding Congressional – Update – What You Need To Know”. Rep. Myrick, who represents Congressional District 9 that surrounds Mecklenburg County, was invited to host the event that is presented by former Republican congressional representative Nancy Johnson and University of Maryland economist Dr. Peter Cramton. The event, which will include other panelist, starts at 11:30 am at the Longworth House Office Building located in Washington, DC.

  • CMS’ “Culture of Secrecy” and Selective Support for Competitive Bidding

    Although CMS supports competitive bidding for DMEPOS, they favor sole-source contracting in other, less well explained, circumstances. 

    The attached investigative journalism article from the Des Moines Register discusses CMS’ use of sole source contracts worth over $100 million to a foundation operating Iowa’s Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) through a no-bid contracts — a foundation which gave over $800,00 in severance pay to two former executives.  Moreover, the Register article discusses other instances in which CMS  “continues to dole out  hundreds of millions of dollars to QIOs through a process that eliminates competitive bidding.”

  • Competitive bidding: Reach out and touch a senator

    From: HME News/Theresa Flaherty Managing Editor

    WASHINGTON – The industry has staked its mark in the House and it now seeks to do the same in the Senate.   

    “The key effort is to educate senators on competitive bidding,” said Walt Gorski, vice president of government affairs for AAHomecare. “We believe that things will only deteriorate as time goes on.”

    The association is one of several industry groups that in recent weeks have ramped up efforts encouraging providers to contact their senators.
    While H.R. 1041, the House bill to repeal the program, now has 97 co-sponsors–a number that will likely continue to grow–the Senate is a different animal.
    “It takes more work with the senators,” said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Invacare. “Part of it is that they are 12 to 18 months behind the House in terms of understanding the impact. Then you’ve got the overarching politics of the budget. Republicans generally don’t want to touch something with a price tag.”
    Still, there are a few senators who seem to be “warming” to the issue, Bachenheimer said. The main reason: the flawed structure of the program.
    “When you have 167 economists, lead by Dr. Peter Cramton and other third-party objective experts, saying it’s fatally flawed, that’s pretty compelling,” she said.
    Meanwhile, CMS continues to tout the program, telling House and Senate staff last week that the program is operating smoothly, according to AAHomecare. It’s up to the industry to counter CMS’s claims, and it’s certainly trying to. On May 9, members of the New England Medical Equipment Dealers association met with Sen. Scott Brown, R.-Mass., in Boston.
    Provider Gary Sheehan, who attended the event, came away feeling that they had made some progress on educating Brown, a supporter of small businesses, about the bidding program’s impact.
    “We talked about the jobs impact and how the majority of the industry is controlled by small businesses,” said Sheehan, president and CEO of Sandwich, Mass.-based Cape Medical Supply. “But we also focused more on the long-term negative healthcare outcomes, which is a story that survives any economic turnaround.”
  • PAOC Members Ask CMS for Specific Info on Round 1

    From: Home Care Magazine

    Exactly how many contracted suppliers are there? And are they providing service?

    WASHINGTON — In a May 6 letter emailed to CMS Deputy Administrator Jonathan Blum, a dozen members of the Program Advisory and Oversight Committee asked for the release of additional data on competitive bidding. 

    The PAOC was formed to advise CMS on implementation of the bidding program, but committee members have long said the agency seldom takes its advice. 

  • People for Quality Care Sends DVDs Featuring Patients to Washington

    From: Home Care Magazine

    ‘We need you to stop competitive bidding’

    WATERLOO, Iowa — Teri Lynn Jorgensen of Cedar Falls, Iowa, has a special message about competitive bidding for Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa: “The choice [of provider] needs to remain mine.”
    So does Angie Plager of Cambridge, Iowa. “We really need you now more than ever to stop this competitive bidding.”

    The two women are among people with disabilities featured in a new, personalized DVD from People for Quality Care, a grassroots advocacy group that educates people with disabilities, their families and Medicare beneficiaries about competitive bidding.

  • Deadly Tornadoes Push Southern HME Providers to the Limit

    Editor’s Note:  The following story highlights the crucial role of service in the provision of DME.  Any Medicare DME program that does not specifically consider and protect the service function of DME providers will fail beneficiaries.

    From: Home Care Magazine

    ‘When every oxygen patient you have does not have power, that makes it difficult’