WASHINGTON, March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Association for Homecare strongly endorses bipartisan legislation to repeal the misguided and deeply flawed Medicare "competitive" bidding program for home medical equipment and services (durable medical equipment). The bill, H.R. 1041, was introduced by Congressmen Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) and Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) on March 11, 2011 and is titled the "Fairness in Medicare Bidding Act."
Tyler Wilson, president and CEO of the American Association for Homecare, commented, "We appreciate the bipartisan leadership of Congressmen Thompson and Altmire who recognize that the Medicare bidding program is a severely flawed approach to providing care to seniors and people with disabilities. Home-based care is already the most cost-effective setting for post-acute care, and this bidding system is merely a badly designed solution in search of a problem."
The bidding program was implemented on January 1, 2011 in nine metropolitan areas across the U.S. and will expand to an additional 91 areas later this year. Medicare beneficiaries who live in Charlotte, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas-Fort Worth, Kansas City, Miami, Orlando, Pittsburgh, and Riverside, California are affected by this program now. The bidding applies to medically required oxygen therapy, enteral nutrients (tube feeding), continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) and respiratory assistive devices, power wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds and support surfaces, and mail-order diabetic supplies.
The American Association for Homecare has received hundreds of complaints about the bidding program from beneficiaries, physicians, case managers, and homecare providers. These complaints will increase exponentially as the program progresses because the payment rates established under this system are unsustainable over the long term. These payment rates are leading to the provision of lower-quality medical eq