Industry Groups Back Market-Based Alternative to Bidding
Letter to Congress urging replacement to competitive bidding show growing industry unity.
- By David Kopf
- Oct 19, 2011
A number of HME sector organizations signed an Oct. 14 letter to Congress urging “fundamental changes” in the current bidding structure and calling for adoption of the new Market Pricing Program (MPP) system as a replacement for national competitive bidding (NCB).
The American Association for Homecare unveiled the MPP in late September after its board of directors voted to support the MPP proposal in late summer. The association said that while it will continue to argue for the abolition of NCB, it will offer the alternative framework. The market-based pricing approach answers a key question presented to HME advocates on Capitol Hill, particularly in the Senate: What does HME community offer as a replacement if NCB is repealed?
The six organizations that signed the Oct. letter in support of the Market Pricing Program: AAHomecare, the National Association of Independent Medical Equipment Suppliers, Committee to Save Independent Home Medical Equipment Suppliers (CSI:HME), VGM Group Inc., The MED Group, and the Accredited Medical Equipment Providers of America.
The letter’s main goal was to marshal support for MPP in the Senate. AAHomecare delivered the letter to Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) who serve as chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Finance Committee.
The letter describes the HME community’s concerns about significant flaws in the current bidding program for home medical equipment and services and urges Congress to make significant changes to reform the program using a sustainable, market-based pricing system.
“The competitive bidding program is a deeply flawed pricing mechanism that has and will continue to create significant obstacles to quality patient care and needed services while threatening the homecare infrastructure for our nation’s seniors and persons with disabilities,” a section of the letter reads. “Competitive bidding restricts both access to and the choice of DME items and services by forcing consumers to use select providers. In addition, rather than lowering costs, competitive bidding is increasing them. With fewer providers allowed to provide products and services, normal expedited deliveries of items and services are being eliminated; therefore Medicare costs are increasing because patients face longer hospitalization periods and they may require more frequent physician visits.”
David Kopf is the Editor of HME Business.