• New study: HME saves billions

    ‘The return is so much greater than the dollars CMS is trying to save’

    From: HME News

    By John Andrews

    GWCC – A new study that shows how the HME industry can save Medicare billions of dollars should have CMS, Congress and the general public intrigued and excited, its chief analyst says. 

    Brian Leitten, a Florida-based consultant who, with the help of VGM Group, spent four months compiling data to make “The Case For Medicare Investment in DME,” told Medtrade attendees Tuesday that CMS needs to “invest” in home medical equipment because it can save Medicare billions, along with generating handsome ROI for the program.

  • Kansas City Beneficiaries Face Competitive Bidding Surprises, Loss of Suppliers, Service Decline

    Editor’s Note:  The following is first in a series of posts from competitive bidding’s front lines.  The data is from a conference call sponsored by Last Chance for Patients Choice and facilitated by “People for Quality Care” of the VGM Group, in the Kansas 2nd Congressional district, part of the Kansas City Round 1 Rebid Competitive Bidding Area.

    Almost three-quarters (73%) of nearly 1,000 beneficiaries surveyed  in Kansas’ 2nd Congressional District were forced to change suppliers during the last eight months.  Despite CMS’ education efforts preceding the Round 1 Rebid, only 15% of the beneficiaries were aware that the Kansas City area had been chosen as one of nine initial metropolitan areas for the competitive bidding project — a stunning failure of the CMS outreach efforts.

  • 12,000 Cincinnati Area Beneficiaries Join Town Hall On Consequences of Competitive Bidding Program

    From: VGM

    Cincinnati, OH – Thousands of concerned seniors and caregivers in Cincinnati joined a town hall teleconference call to learn how Medicare’s competitive bidding program will impact access to quality home medical equipment and timely service. 

    The call, hosted by Last Chance for Patient Choice in conjunction with People for Quality Care (PFQC) and the Ohio Association for Medical Equipment Services (OAMES), brought consumers and health care professionals together to discuss the consequences of Medicare’s program that eliminates local home medical equipment suppliers from providing service to beneficiaries. 

  • Panel Testimony Lays Powerful Grounds

    From: Griffin Home Health Care, Inc.

    The panel of 5 DME industry representatives built a strong case for repeal of competitive bidding, which seemed to be strongly supported by the Small Business Committee members attending the hearing on February 11. Subcommittee Chairman Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) indicated that his intention of the hearing was to “…discuss the importance of ending the program entirely.” Bill Griffin, President/CEO of Griffin Home Health Care was one of the representatives providing testimony for the House Committee.

  • Relief for original bid winners?

    From: HME News

    CardioSom’s lawsuit serves as a test case for 300-plus providers that were awarded contracts

    By Theresa Flaherty, Managing Editor

    WASHINGTON – A recent ruling by a federal appeals court could pave the way for HME providers who were awarded contracts in the original Round 1 of competitive bidding to sue for damages.
    CardioSom in 2008 filed a lawsuit for breach of contract in the Court of Federal Claims, after Congress delayed the competitive bidding program for 18 months and rescinded the contracts of winning suppliers. The Court of Federal Claims ruled CardioSom had no basis to sue, saying that when Congress terminated the contracts, it also barred lawsuits. But an appeals court has disagreed, saying that contract winners have the right to sue.
    “Companies like CardioSom started spending money, hiring people and getting space,” said attorney Jerry Stouck, a shareholder with Greenberg Traurig in Washington, D.C., which represents CardioSom. “They were expecting to be one of the exclusive providers in those areas for three years, which is worth something.”
    CardioSom, which won contracts for CPAP and oxygen in nine of the 10 competitive bidding areas is seeking damages, including lost profits for the three-year period of the contract.
    Now CardioSom will go back to the lower court and press forward with its lawsuit. Ultimately, CardioSom’s suit will serve as a test case for the more than 300 suppliers that were awarded contracts and who may want to sue for damages, said attorney Bill Eck, a shareholder with Greenberg Traurig.
    “Each company will have its own damages and expenses,” he said. “But in terms of the basic issues–did the government breach the contract? Is the government liable? Then the answer is the same for everyone.”
  • HHS IG Plans Three Competitive Bidding-Related Program Reviews

    The FY 2012 Work Plan from HHS’ Office of Inspector General calls for reviewing three aspects of the DME competitive bidding program including CMS’ process for conducting competitive bidding:

    Competitive Bidding Process for Medical Equipment and Supplies

    We will review the process CMS used to conduct competitive bidding and subsequent pricing determinations for certain DMEPOS items and services in selected competitive bidding areas under rounds 1 and 2 of the competitive bidding program. Federal law requires OIG to conduct postaward audits to assess this process. (MIPPA, § 154(a)(1)(E).) (OAS; W-00-11-35241; various reviews; expected issued date: FY 2012; new start)

  • Rehberg, Rogers Ask GAO for Immediate Review of Bidding Program

    From: VGM

    Thanks to the efforts of the Big Sky Association of Home Medical Equipment Suppliers (Big Sky AMES) and VGM members, Appropriations Committee member Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) has joined with Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) to request that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) make and “immediate and comprehensive review” of the competitive bidding program.

    In their letter Oct. 5 letter, the congressmen ask the GAO to consider and answer the following questions:

    1. What is the impact on beneficiary access to quality and timely services?
    2. What is the impact on jobs generally?
  • CMS Releases Updated Map for Round 1 Rebid and Round 2 Competitive Bidding Areas

    Editor’s Note: The map discussed below is available at http://www.dmecompetitivebid.com/palmetto/cbic.nsf/CBAMap

    From: CMS

    The Competitive Bidding Implementation Contractor (CBIC) has posted an updated interactive United States (U.S.) map and ZIP code look-up tools on the CBIC website.  The interactive U.S. map now displays the Round 1 Rebid, Round 2, and national mail-order competition competitive bidding areas (CBAs) included in the Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program. The ZIP code look-up tool has also been updated to include the ZIP codes for Round 2 and the national mail-order competition.A fact sheet, which lists the 100 CBAs included in the Round 2 competition, is also posted on the CBIC website. The CBA for the national mail-order competition for diabetic testing supplies includes all ZIP codes in all parts of the U.S., including the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa.Please call the CBIC customer service center at 877-577-5331 for more information or assistance.

  • Power Mobility Helps Ms. Wheelchair America Shine

    Editor’s Note:  In the press release below, Josie Badger, Ms. Wheelchair America, discusses her concerns about how competitive bidding threatens patient quality of care.

    PITTSBURGH, Oct. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Ensuring Power Mobility is Available for People Living with Disabilities

    Most toddlers go from strollers to taking their first steps, but Josie Badger had a more complicated transition. Now 27, Badger recalls that she went from a stroller to her first wheelchair, beginning a lifelong dependence on medical equipment to provide her mobility.