NEW YORK, Feb. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Fall-out continues as a result of the competitive bid program instituted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Durable Medical Equipment companies from across New York have aligned in their effort to Protect Medicare Beneficiaries.
The plunging reimbursement rates set by Medicare for Durable Medical Equipment (DME) illustrates why its system for the purchasing of home medical equipment is clearly a flawed one, expected to produce troubling results. The new bidding program allows the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to determine the pricing on durable medical equipment such as oxygen and wheelchairs, as well as other vital home medical products for Medicare beneficiaries.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that in Round 2 of its bidding process, which is expected to begin on July 1, suggests that reimbursements for a wide range of home medical equipment will drop on average by 45 percent in New York City and Long Island, with diabetic test prices dropping an average of 72 percent.
"CMS' new competitive bidding system, while it does seem to involve bidding, is anything but competitive," stated Isaac Newman Chief Operation Officer at MetroStar Home Health Products, a New York City-based medical supply company. "Like all bids there are winners and losers; however, it is transparent to all that the winners are based on their readiness to cooperate with the bid process rather than their cost competitiveness."
The process is set by the bidders in a convoluted manner, which CMS erroneously refers to as "competitive bidding." Many industry experts suggest that CMS has deviously created a process where it can arbitrarily select any price between the lowest and highest bids. Furthermore, many have referred to this process as having "no transparency whatsoever" because the factors that the Agency uses to determine the pricing levels are secretly set by CMS and not released to bidders or the public, and their only purpose is allowing CMS to fix the reimbursement prices.
Round 1 of the process has already eliminated thousands of businesses from providing equipment and services to Medicare beneficiaries. In turn, with fewer businesses providing products and services, there was a significant drop in utilization of DME equipment by Medicare beneficiaries, and many were forced to change providers.
"Competition in the market place increases the need for companies to provide excellent service with extraordinary products," noted Newman.
To date Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) suggests that the implementation of the program thus far has yielded few complaints from Medicare beneficiaries. However, many advocacy groups are hearing from senior citizens and people living with disabilities who are worried about the substandard care they are now receiving. People for Quality Care, which is gathering stories from seniors and people living with disabilities who are adversely impacted by government healthcare policies, has heard from many Medicare recipients concerned about the limited access to much-needed homecare.
The CMS competitive bidding system is destroying the Medicare program and its network of neighborhood providers, who have always focused on delivering quality care even during emergencies, as seen during super-storm Sandy. This change will ultimately endanger patients, and it will no longer be a health safety net for seniors and people living with disabilities. Congress has not taken action as of yet.
For more information on MetroStar Home Health Products, please contact Isaac Newman, (718) 838-3333 or visit us online at www.metrostardme.com.
Contact: Isaac Newman
MetroStar Home Health
Chief Operating Officer
Phone (718) 838-3333
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