SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Providers of home medical equipment and services across California 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 California's 4.6 million Medicare beneficiaries, and put thousands of California homecare providers 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.
"The competitive bidding program will put new hurdles between Medicare beneficiaries and essential products and services," said Esta Willman, owner of Medi-Source Equipment and Supply, based in Yucca Valley. "Patients will see their ability to choose a local, familiar supplier for home medical equipment diminished, and may face longer wait times for products to be delivered as suppliers are forced to close locations and restrict delivery options."
"Home-based care is by far the most cost-effective setting f