Monday, October 5, 2009

Fox News Calls HME a “Rip Off;” AAHomecare Requests On-Air Rebuttal

Fox and Friends this morning aired a segment about the Medicare competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment. This segment requires clarifications and a rebuttal.

The segment lacked some important context and detail and the American Association for Homecare requested an opportunity to respond on the air as soon as possible.

Congress BRIEFLY DELAYED the competitive bidding program last year because it is a SMALL BUSINESS KILLER. It was designed to knock most of the providers out of Medicare, which is a death knell for this sector, even if they agreed to new, competitively bid rates. How is that “competitive” in the long run?

Fox and Friends RIP OFF charts shown on air are extremely misleading. Comparing what one would pay over the Internet vs. what it costs to deliver, set up, and maintain home medical equipment, whether a medical oxygen system or power wheelchair, is comparing apples to oranges. Even an item as simple as a walker must be delivered to the patient’s home, must be adjusted, and the patient must receive instructions. The whole point of quality home care is that it allows people to leave hospitals quicker and it keeps them out of nursing homes. Consider the fact that when COPD patients receive medical oxygen in their home (oxygen is a highly regulated prescription drug) it costs less than $7 dollars per day. Compare that to an average daily cost of a hospital day in Medicare – more than $5,000 per day.

Congress required the home medical equipment sector to pay for the delay in the bid program THROUGH A BILLION DOLLAR CUT to reimbursements effective January 1, 2009 -- which pays for EVERY DOLLAR the bidding program had been projected to save.

Just to be clear, Medicare sets the fee schedule for reimbursement of oxygen, wheelchairs, hospital beds, etc.

This sector represents less than two percent of Medicare spending. Medicare spending for durable medical equipment is less than one percent per year.

AAHomecare is waiting for a response from Fox and Friends at this time. To express your thoughts (please be polite and share your own personal perspective as a provider), contact Steve Doocy at Fox News, 212-301-3033 ( and William La Jeunesse, the correspondent, at 310-571-2000 (

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