WASHINGTON, Dec. 31, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On January 1, 2011, Medicare starts a new "competitive bidding" program for durable medical equipment and supplies in nine metropolitan regions: Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas-Fort Worth, Kansas City, Miami, Orlando, Pittsburgh, and Riverside, California. This program will affect thousands of Medicare beneficiaries who use the following equipment and related services and supplies: power wheelchairs, walkers, oxygen, CPAP and respiratory assistive devices, hospital beds, enteral nutrients (tube feeding), support surfaces, and mail-order diabetic supplies.
Medicare beneficiaries, family members, caregivers, hospital discharge planners, and clinicians can report problems, concerns, and feedback about this bidding system by calling a toll-free number, 1-888-990-0499, or by visiting the website: www.biddingfeedback.com.
By design, this new Medicare program will severely restrict the number of companies that are allowed to provide the equipment and supplies listed above. While the program is supposed to help reduce spending in Medicare, it may result in:
- Difficulty finding an equipment provider,
- Delays in delivery of equipment or services,
- Fewer choices of equipment or providers,
- Reduced quality,
- Confusion, or
- Incorrect items and or services.
The program may also result in increased spending at the emergency rooms and delayed transition from hospital care to home care.
More than 160 leading economists and auction experts, including two Nobel laureates, have warned that Medicare's bidding design for medical equipment will fail. Over the past two months, the experts have signed letters to congressional leaders criticizing the controversial bidding program.
The economic experts, who do not oppose the concept of using a