Is DME competitive bidding working?

The American Association for Homecare claims the competitive bidding process the Medicare program recently introduced to the procurement of durable medical equipment is not working, reports Healthcare Finance News.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services introduced competitive bidding at the start of this year in nine U.S. metropolitan areas as part of a pilot project. However, comments posted on the website of the AAH suggest the program has been plagued with problems, including difficulties finding local providers, reduced choices and quality and confusion regarding home-based healthcare that may be contributing to longer hospital stays. The AAH says it has received more than 250 complaints from Medicare enrollees and their families since the start of 2011.

"By limiting providers, this bidding program is actually hurting patients," said Barry Johnson, president of the Texas Alliance of Home Care services, in a prepared statement. Dallas-Forth Worth is among the areas that have competitive bidding. "This program leaves no alternatives for our nation's seniors and people living with disabilities and puts people out of jobs in an already rough economic environment."

An official with the Florida Alliance of Home Care Services went further, claiming that patients who had routine home healthcare needs were being sent to hospital emergency rooms.

For more:
- read the Healthcare Finance News article
- read the AAH's position