Texas Seniors and Homecare Providers Face Disruption From a Flawed Medicare Bidding Program Targeting Dallas-Ft. Worth

May 2 media teleconference will discuss why as many as 482,000 Texas Medicare beneficiaries are at risk for disruption of service, lower quality of service, 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 Texas.

When: Friday, May 2, 2008 - 10:00 AM CT. 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: Tyler Wilson, President and CEO of the American Association for Homecare will provide an overview about the competitive bidding program.

Evelyn Herndon, CEO of Ellis County Home Medical Equipment, LLC in Ellis County, Texas, participated in competitive bidding but Ellis County Home Medical Equipment's bid was outside of the accepted range. Evelyn will discuss how not having a contract winner in Ellis County will severely limit access for many of Evelyn's patients.

Viola Jenkins, President and CEO of VitaCare, Inc. in Dallas, Texas will discuss what affects disqualification from the competitive bidding program will have on her 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 Dallas-Ft. Worth area on July 1, 2008, along with other areas throughout the U.S. The American Association for Homecare, Medical Equipment Suppliers Association, 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 482,000 seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. The bidding program has been fraught with procedural flaws and operational problems that call into question the fairness of the overall process. McAllen, San Antonio, Austin, Beaumont, El Paso and Houston are scheduled for implementation of competitive bidding in 2009.

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 www.aahomecare.org.

/PRNewswire-USNewswire - April 30/

SOURCE American Association for Homecare