ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich., Aug. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Providers of home medical equipment and services across Michigan are proposing a fiscally responsible alternative to the mislabeled "competitive" bidding scheme currently under way in Medicare that will actually discourage competition, reduce access to care for many of Michigan's 1.6 million Medicare beneficiaries, and put thousands of homecare providers in the state out of business.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that bidding in nine of the country's largest metropolitan areas could reduce spending in Medicare for home medical equipment and services. But those alleged savings are the result of "suicide bids" from providers in this ill-advised race to the bottom that will put thousands of homecare providers out of business and reduce patients' access to care. Although Congress delayed the implementation of the selective contracting program in 2008 to allow for needed changes, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ignored congressional intent and did not address the flaws that precipitated the delay.
"Competitive bidding sounds reasonable on the surface – until you consider the practical effects this program will have on patients, suppliers, and the future health of Medicare," said Anthony Filippis, president and CEO of Rochester Hills-based Wright & Filippis, and chairman of the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare). "Only one in ten providers will be awarded a bid, so nine out of ten providers will lose a significant amount of business and income, while the 'winning' bidder will not be able to survive at the bid rates that were necess