Fox News Slams DME
Report compares Medicare rentals to web prices, carries pro-NCB slant.
- By David Kopf
- Oct 09, 2009
"Medicare knowingly overpays for almost everything it buys," when it comes to HME, according to "Tracking Your Taxes: Medicare Waste Goes Unchecked ," a Fox News report that was released earlier this week.
The report by William LaJeunesse of Fox's Los Angeles bureau, compares a variety of medicare costs for DME against Internet purchase prices. However, the article contains no direct quotes or responses from anyone involved in the HME industry or homecare.
The Fox story also dedicates several paragraphs to former HHS secretary Mike Leavitt, who argued CMS's competitive bidding program is a means to manage costs.
"It would have saved billions if we could've actually implemented it, but Congress deferred it. In Washington speak, that means we put it off forever," Leavitt said in the report, referring to the 18- to 24-month delay of NCB via MIPPA. (Leavitt and report failed to mention that a rebid of round one of NCB is already well underway.)
One of the story's sensational price comparisons was that of a standard power wheelchair, which the report claimed cost Medicare $4,018 and the private sector $1,048. A statement from the Scooter Store said its CEO and founder Doug Harrison was "outraged" that the story apparently based it's report on a report on wheelchair costs from The Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) that was released in early September.
Read more about the OIG report at: http://hme-business.com/articles/2009/08/03/report.aspx
When the report was released, the American Association for Homecare says is misleading and “ignored the substantial costs of services related to providing power wheelchairs, including complex rehab, to seniors and people with disabilities who require mobility assistance.”
“I am extremely upset that a major broadcast network did not check their facts,” Harrison said. “The HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) actually acknowledged that their report failed to include many of the costs associated with doing business with Medicare.”
A public statement the National Association of Independent Medical Equipment Suppliers called on providers to contact the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know the story is flawed and unbalanced.
"If you are as outraged as most other suppliers we have heard from, you need to write a letter to this reporter," NAIMES said. "Make it short and to the point. State your view of his unbalanced story that he forgot to 'fact check' before publishing."
David Kopf is the Editor of HME Business.