At a time of harsh budget austerity across the government, CMS is seeking more than a five-fold increase in their budget to expand competitive bidding. HHS/CMS’ FY 2013 Justification of Estimates for Appropriations Committees budget document states:
Expand Durable Medical Equipment (DME) Competitive Bidding: CMS is requesting $55.0 million, an increase of $46.1 million above the FY 2012 enacted level. In FY 2013, under the second round, CMS will expand operations to 91 additional Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), for a total of 100 MSAs, and implement a National Mail Order competition.
From: HME News
by: Leif Kothe
YARMOUTH, Maine – Two weeks after CMS’s announcement of severe cuts in Round 2 single payment amounts, providers were saying “no” to contracts.
In a recent HME NewsPoll, 68% of providers said they do not plan to accept a CMS contract for Round 2 of competitive bidding.
“A 45% decrease is impossible,” said Jack Lentz, clinical director at Southampton, Pa.-based Respiratory Therapy Services. “In fact, it’s criminal and should be investigated.”
Of the respondents who said they would not accept a contract, 39% said they plan to shift their focus to non-Medicare payers.
Editor’s Note: See the following article appears in Human Events. Basically CMS believes they are untouchable and is going to proceed with an arbitrary pricing system wrapped in a bow titled “competitive bidding”. Senator Dirksen ( Circa early 60’s) once stated that people “see the iight when they feel the pain”. It is time the regulated industry abide by Senator Dirksen’s comments with full recognition that since they are regulated it is best to work through credible and recognized third parties such as CRE.
New Medicare bidding rules, pricing raise objectionsBy: Neil W. McCabe
From: Cleveland Plain Dealer
By Stephen Koff, Plain Dealer Washington Bureau Chief
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A Medicare program that cut costs dramatically in Cleveland and a few other areas will expand to Akron, Youngstown, Columbus and dozens of other areas nationwide this summer, providing massive savings — $25 billion for the government and $17 billion for beneficiaries between now and 2022, federal officials say.
But the suffering that may result could be just as monumental, say businesses that supply power wheelchairs and scooters, walkers, oxygen concentrators, diabetes testing strips and similar home medical equipment. Just as it did in Cleveland in 2011, the government is going to pay a lot less for home equipment in 91 additional metropolitan areas starting July 1.
Editor’s Note: The National Science Foundation’s Institute of Medicine has just issued a pre-publication edition of a report, Countering the Problem of Falsified and Substandard Drugs, which discusses the dangers of counterfeit and other falsified/illegitimate medical products. IOM notes that:
Poor quality medicines cause treatment failure, but doctors do not generally suspect Soma medicines as a cause of disease progression. Lifesaving medicines can be of poor quality, which may be an uncounted root cause of high mortality in low- and middle-income countries. No class of drug is immune to being compromised.
Editor’s Note: For several years, CRE has been advising In-pharmacy sellers of diabetic supplies that the initiation of the CMS competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment was aimed at their products. After numerous discussions, most sellers adopted a let’s join a coalition and we will work it out strategy. Thoughtful discussions and considered strategy have little impact without a strong regulatory intervention when dealing with an agency such as CMS who does not act on the facts.
Editor’s Note: From a Comment by supergolfer on Theresa Flaherty’s HME News blog.
Well I am the Billing Manager of a small Mail Order Diabetic Supply Company that was extremely shocked at the reimburstment rates we to thought the pricing would come in at around $15.00 per bottle.
However I am even more upset that we have heard rumors that the bid winners already know who they are and that only 15 contract were awarded.
Something smells extremely fishy with this entire Competitive Bidding Program and almost sounds as though fraud hof some sort has been commited.
Editor’s Note: The following article and forthcoming study in Diabetes Care should be viewed in context of the Theresa Flaherty’s story on HME News, “Bottom drops out of diabetes market: ‘There is no way (these suppliers) are going to get there’“
Frequent blood sugar testing was strongly associated with better diabetes control in a large new study that concludes public and private insurers should not be limiting test strip supplies.
Particularly for people with type 1 diabetes, who must test their own blood sugar throughout each day and inject insulin to regulate sugar levels, a cap on the number of test strips they’re allowed to use may seriously affect their health, researchers say.
From: Memphis Business Journal
CMS bidding process will put some out of business
Local businesses specializing in sales and servicing of durable medical equipment and supplies are scrambling to find ways to keep their Medicare lines of business financially viable after July 1 or risk laying off employees — or even closing operations entirely.
That’s when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will implement a new competitive bidding program for suppliers in Memphis and 90 other Metropolitan Statistical Areas across the country.
Editor’s Note: The Congressional Budget Office’s Chief of Medicare Cost Estimates informed a conference sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the University of Maryland that the CMS bidding system would fail unless unless reformed. CMS has refused to fix a broken system leaving diabetes patients to face the consequences.
By Alex Nixon
A controversial Medicare bidding program tested in Pittsburgh and eight other cities will be expanded across the country this year.
The government hails the program as a major money-saver because it requires medical-equipment suppliers to bid for contracts. But some economists, industry groups and suppliers say the program is flawed and is pushing companies out of business.