Dallas-Fort Worth Mired in NCB Difficulties
AAHomecare, TAHCS begins warning local media regarding bid program’s impact for other Texas markets.
- By David Kopf
- Feb 10, 2011
As providers and patients in the Dallas-Forth Worth area rack up mounting lists of complaints regarding their Round One competitive bidding implementation, the American Assocaition for Homecare and the Texas Alliance of Home Care Services has begun warning local media regarding the program’s eventual impact come Round Two.
The program has impacted Dallas-Fort Worth’s 565,000 Medicare beneficiaries, and is scheduled to start up in an additional 91 areas later this year including six metropolitan areas in Texas – Austin, Beaumont, El Paso, Houston, McAllen, and San Antonio – where more than 850,000 Medicare beneficiaries live, according to a recent AAHomecare press release.
The bidding program will affect seniors and people living with disabilities covered by Medicare who require oxygen therapy, enteral nutrients (tube feeding), continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) and respiratory assistive devices, power wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds and support surfaces, and mail-order diabetic supplies.
“Medicare’s competitive bidding program works against the best interests of the patient by eliminating the access to care that beneficiaries require,” said Barry Johnson, president of the TAHCS. “For instance, in Dallas-Fort Worth, we had 300 oxygen providers prior to competitive bidding implementation. Now, as a result of the program, the area will have only a maximum of 52 providers to service this entire area.”
More than 100,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Texas depend on home oxygen therapy.
“By limiting providers, this bidding program is actually hurting patients,” Johnson added. “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,” said Johnson. “When our businesses close, patients will have to turn to expensive hospitals visits and long term stays because Medicare will have nowhere to turn if the smaller pool of ‘winning’ businesses is unable to meet the region’s increasing demand for home-based care.”
In its press release, AAHomcare noted that it shared a number of problems with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) earlier in January, and that the design and implementation of the bidding system alarm Johnson, his Texas colleagues, and more than 167 leading economists and auction experts, including two Nobel laureates, who warned Congress that this bidding system will fail.
It also added that the program was opposed by more than a dozen national consumer and patient advocacy groups including the ALS Association, American Association of People with Disabilities, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Council on Independent Living, National Spinal Cord Injury Association, and United Spinal Association. Last year, a bipartisan group of 257 members of the U.S. House of Representatives supported legislation to repeal the controversial bidding program.
David Kopf is the Editor of HME Business.