• 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.

    The most disturbing finding of the survey was that 60% of surveyed Medicare beneficiaries experienced delays in receiving DME services and/or supplies during the last eight months.  By contrast, only 40% of beneficiaries had experienced a similar delay in the previous two years.  Put another way, delays in beneficiaries receiving DME services supplies were up by 50% following the imposition of competitive bidding.

    It is incumbent on CMS to review and evaluate the problems which beneficiaries are experiencing in obtaining life-saving DME equipment and services prior to beginning the Round 2 bidding process.  CMS should also revise and expand their education outreach efforts to explain to beneficiaries that they are likely to lose trusted providers as a result of competitive bidding.

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