"Considering that nearly half of the suppliers that were awarded contracts had not met basic State licensure requirements, we have significant concerns with the integrity of the DMEPOS competitive bidding rate setting process," said Dan Starck, Chairman of CQRC. "The fact that unqualified suppliers' bids were used to set rates means that the current rates are not correct, and applying them to noncompetitive bidding areas could create serious problems. This report punctuates the need for slowing down the application of these incorrect competitive bidding rates in noncompetitive areas. If these rates are too low, as we suspect, then there is even greater reason to provide a more reasonable phase-in period to monitor the impact on beneficiaries access to care and the quality of care they receive before CMS implements the second half of the cut on home respiratory therapy services."
On July 1, CMS is scheduled to apply the remaining half of the cuts that results from applying competitive bidding rates currently used in urban areas to rural and other noncompetitive bid areas. CMS established only a six-month phase-in to assess the impact of the cuts, which is not sufficient time to understand the impact of the lower rates on beneficiary access to high quality care. CQRC supports the Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment Act (PADME), legislation to provide relief to home respiratory therapy providers in non-competitively bid areas by allowing additional time for the implementation of the rate cuts.
"While not surprising, the OIG findings provide another reason why we need to delay the phase-in of the scheduled cuts," added Starck. "Federal policymakers should carefully evaluate the risks for implementing cuts too fast and take measures to ensure access to quality patient care is prioritized and protected. We know that high quality home respiratory care keeps patients at home and out of emergency rooms, hospitals, and other institutional care settings. Applying a flawed rate to noncompetitive bid areas jeopardizes access to the care management services home respiratory therapy suppliers have historically been able to provide and that allow patients to remain in their homes."
More than one million Medicare beneficiaries rely upon home respiratory therapies to treat Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Home oxygen and sleep therapies allow patients to live independently, remain at home with their families and maintain quality of life.
To learn more, visit cqrc.org and follow CQRC on Twitter at @TheCQRC.
To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/respiratory-care-leaders-oig-report-signals-fundamental-flaws-in-dmepos-competitive-bidding-program-300276206.html
SOURCE Council for Quality Respiratory Care