Friday, February 11, 2011

KC Business Journal Discusses Negative Effects of Medicare bidding program

Kansas City Business Journal Health reporter Aly Van Dyke’s story on the complications of the Medicare bidding program reports that 48 of the 164 companies in Kansas City that applied received contracts to continue to sell durable medical equipment to Medicare beneficiaries. “Medicare awarded contracts to companies that bid the lowest prices. Because previous fee schedules reflected historical prices adjusted for inflation, current prices could be as much as three to four times the current retail prices, according to studies from the Office of the Inspector General and the General Accounting Office.

‘Our government is telling us that it is focusing on job creation and the health and well-being of Americans, but this competitive bidding system does nothing to aid either of these two priorities,’ Rose Schafhauser, executive director of Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services, said in the release. ‘Competitive bidding is a job-killing program that is forcing small businesses around the country to close and is putting people out of work. As a result, it is taking away patients’ basic right to choose where and from whom they can or can’t get care and services.”

While homecare businesses are reeling from the effects of the program, their patients are also suffering. “Since the implementation of the competitive bidding program, the American Association for Homecare has logged more than 175 complaints from seniors and health care providers.

“Seniors report difficulty finding equipment locally, delays in getting medically required equipment and longer hospital stays, the association says. Providers claim that the program limits patient choices. And some contract winners say hospital discharge employees are referring patients only to companies that received multiple contracts, rather than those that won one or two for different supplies.”

Read the full story at

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