The American Association for Respiratory Care’s (AARC) endorsement of Rep. Kendrick Meek’s bill to end the Medicare competitive bid program for durable medical equipment underscores the severe clinical implications of providing homecare to Medicare beneficiaries based on a lowest-cost bidding system that not only drives a race-to-the-bottom approach to serving seniors but also eliminates most of the competitors who currently compete on the basis of service and quality. Text of the November 20 letter of support from AARC to Rep. Meek follows:
“The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) a 49,000 member professional association for respiratory therapists offers its support of HR 3790, legislation that seeks to repeal the Medicare competitive acquisition program for durable medical equipment and prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) in a budget neutral manner.
Respiratory therapists provide clinical care and services to pulmonary patients across the continuum of care. While the majority of respiratory therapists work in the hospital setting, an increasing number are employed in alternative care sites such as nursing homes, physician offices, rehabilitation facilities and home care companies.
The AARC and our members are very much aware of the struggles many of our pulmonary home care patients are having in receiving the full range of Medicare services for which they are eligible and which they desperately need. Constant changes in Medicare coverage policy for durable medical equipment, such as the 36 month cap on oxygen rental and the impending implementation of the competitive bid program have had a negative impact on the pulmonary patient’s ambulatory care.
HR 3790 will repeal the competitive bid program and include provisions that will assure the budget neutrality through other payment reductions.
The AARC believes your legislation is good for the patient, a sound Medicare policy and is fiscally responsible.”
To read the full letter, visit http://www.aahomecare.org/associations/3208/files/AARC_HR3790_Support_Nov09.pdf.