CMS Continues its False Claims
We Need YOU to Keep Fighting to End Competitive Bidding
Beneficiaries Needed to Join in our Efforts!
Almost immediately after CMS announced the Round 1 Recompete, press releases from the agency seemingly poured out of several news outlets. Once again, CMS touted taxpayers’ savings and also indicated that beneficiary access to suppliers was not compromised. In other words, “Lies, damned lies, and statistics” (as made famous by the great Mark Twain). CMS continues to say the program is running smoothly, without any problems. It also released a 16-page report highlighting its claims. Meanwhile, the entire industry knows such claims are untrue.
Using diabetic patients as an example in its report, CMS states that it addressed the declines in the use of mail-order diabetes test strips and CPAP supplies in competitive bidding areas (see page 5 of the report). CMS states that its staff “randomly identified” 100 diabetic beneficiaries who indicated they had not made Medicare claims for 2011 because they had “more than enough supplies on hand.” The agency goes on to say: “This would suggest that beneficiaries received excessive replacement supplies before they became medically necessary. CMS concludes that the competitive bidding program may have curbed inappropriate distribution of these supplies that was occurring prior to implementation.”
Time to “Pony Up!”
Make no mistake – CMS’ timely press releases were not by accident. The agency is aware of the traction that the Market Pricing Program (MPP) is gaining on the Hill and the impending CBO score that the DME industry is working to achieve. In response to the traction of the MPP, CMS is doing all it can to portray a smooth-running, flawless program. The claim above is only one sample of the false data that CMS has released as part of its propaganda to curb support for the MPP. But we should regard this as a gift that the agency has given the industry. The industry has always known the program has had a number of issues with patient access to quality care and services. We should use examples of Medicare beneficiaries who are facing real issues with the competitive bidding program to contradtict CMS’ false data.
Rather than chasing CMS’ endless PR campaigns, we need to ensure that we stay in front of the agency’s false information. Rally your beneficiaries and get them involved. Let them speak for themselves to inform local media and your members of Congress that they are having access issues! Start contacting your media now! This flawed program will affect all areas, including rural regions.
- Round 1 providers should report on the issues they have already seen or experienced in their areas.
- Round 2 providers should let their local media know what’s coming and how it will affect their local Medicare beneficiaries.
- Rural area providers should convey how the program will affect their beneficiaries (see Dr. Brown’s study below).
Begin contacting your local media and legislators now!
As an industry, we need to be sure we stay ahead of CMS. Reach out to your local media and members of Congress and make this an issue. Convey to them that competitive bidding is flawed and will affect local jobs as well as access to quality care and supplies. Once again, this is the time to get involved!
Remember: It’s not over until WE, AS AN INDUSTRY say it’s over! It’s time to stop asking: “What are they doing to fight competitive bidding.” We need to ask, “What am I doing to fight competitive bidding?
Below are some handouts and videos that may be used with your local media and legislators conveying the real issues involved with competitive bidding. Please use this information to forward to both. Contact both the local media and your members of Congress by using the VGM DC Link (www.vgmdclink.com). Click on “Find Media Contacts” to connect with your local media. Enter your ZIP Code and click on “Find your Official” to connect with your legislators.
Let’s take action and fight this together!
Below are some videos from People for Quality Care. The videos feature real Medicare beneficiaries, referral sources, and/or providers who discuss patient-access issues because of competitive bidding.
Click here for a packet of information to use with your local media and legislators. It includes the Cramton Analysis and the Dr. Brown Study on rural access.
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