The New York Times published an editorial today which complemented Charles Duhigg’s front page story yesterday. The editorial stated, “Congress must also recognize its own failure to give Medicare an important tool to combat fraud and waste. It postponed a new competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment that would require a more intense look at the qualifications and integrity of the suppliers. With Medicare expenditures soaring, there is no room for any more waste, fraud or complacency.”
To clarify this error surrounding the postponement of the competitive bidding program, AAHomecare submitted the following response to the New York Times comment section: The Medicare bill enacted by Congress on July 15 (the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, HR 6331) INCREASES fraud-prevention measures by setting a statutory deadline for accreditation of home medical equipment providers and by closing a loophole that would have allowed non-accredited homecare providers to serve Medicare beneficiaries. The competitive bidding program is a price-setting mechanism required by the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. The fraud-prevention piece of that legislation is accreditation. The Times has conflated and confused the two. (The durable medical equipment industry has advocated accreditation for decades and opposed the recent cancellation of deadlines for accreditation of providers in 70 metropolitan areas.) Congress wisely delayed the bidding program in July in order to fix a badly implemented program. Congress insisted that the delay be paid for through a 9.5 percent cut for durable medical equipment to recoup the savings the flawed bidding program would have saved. So the specific criticism of Congress in the editorial is misplaced.
To read the editorial and leave a comment of your own visit: http://community.nytimes.com/article/comments/2008/08/22/opinion/22fri1.html?s=1&pg=3