North Carolina Seniors and Homecare Providers Face Disruption from a Flawed Medicare Bidding Program Targeting Charlotte

May 1 media teleconference will discuss why as many as 174,000 North Carolina Medicare beneficiaries are at risk for disruption of service, reduced services, and limited patient access once competitive bidding is implemented in July.

What: Medicare Competitive Bidding Media Teleconference on the details of the Medicare durable medical equipment bidding program and its effects on the provider community and Medicare beneficiaries in North Carolina.

When: Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 1:00 PM EDT. To participate in the teleconference, please dial (866) 463-5401 and use pin number 792030#. To RSVP, please contact Tilly Gambill at 1-703-535-1896 or email [email protected]

Who: Beth Bowen, Executive Director of the North Carolina Association of Medical Equipment Services (NCAMES), will provide an overview of the competitive bidding program.

Kim Brummett, Vice President of Advanced Home Care in Greensboro, North Carolina and president of NCAMES, will speak about the direct impact on providers and patients in North Carolina, mentioning specific experiences of improper disqualification.

Bill Griffin, President/CEO, Griffin Home Health Care, Charlotte, North Carolina will discuss his experience with the competitive bidding program and how the loss of a bidding contract will affect his business and patients.

Background: The congressionally mandated Medicare competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies (DMEPOS) is scheduled to be implemented in the Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord areas on July 1, 2008, along with other areas throughout the U.S. The American Association for Homecare, North Carolina Association of Medical Equipment Services, and the providers they represent have serious concerns about the way the program is being implemented and the effects it will have on the providers and the patients they serve.

This competitive bidding program will put many DME providers out of business, likely causing disruption of services for many of the 174,000 seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare in Charlotte. The bidding program has been fraught with procedural flaws and operational problems that call into question the fairness of the overall process. Asheville, Raleigh, Norfolk and Greensboro are scheduled for implementation of competitive bidding in 2009.

Several members of Congress from North Carolina have expressed concern about the program. It is detrimental to Medicare patients and studies have shown it will decrease competition, raising prices rather than lowering them.

The American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare) represents providers of durable medical equipment and related services and supplies as well as the manufacturers of that equipment. AAHomecare members serve the medical needs of millions of Americans who require home oxygen equipment, wheelchairs and other mobility products, hospital beds, medical supplies, inhalation drug therapy, home infusion, and other medical equipment, products, and services, delivered in the patient's home. AAHomecare's provider members operate more than 3,000 home care locations in all 50 states. See

CONTACT: Tilly Gambill of AAHomecare, +1-703-535-1896, [email protected]

/PRNewswire-USNewswire -- April 29/

SOURCE American Association for Homecare