A bill introduced in Congress yesterday by U.S. Representatives John Tanner (D-Tenn.), David Hobson (R-Ohio), and Mike Ross (D-Ark.) would help ensure fairness and patient access to care in the new competitive bidding program for home medical equipment in Medicare.
The bill is strongly endorsed by the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare).
“The home care community applauds the leadership of these congressmen,” said Tyler J. Wilson, president of the association. “The current law for competitive bidding threatens to reduce access to care for home care patients served by the Medicare program. The new bill would help to ensure that home care providers can continue to compete in a fair program. Home care is the most cost-effective setting for health care and is an important part of the solution for Medicare.”
The House bill, H.R. 1845, would allow any home medical equipment (HME) provider to participate in Medicare at the selected award price resulting from competitive bidding as long as the provider submitted a bid at an amount less than the Medicare fee schedule amount and is otherwise compliant with program requirements.
Another provision of the bill requires Medicare to conduct a complete analysis of the impact of competitive bidding on beneficiary access to quality products and the impact on home medical equipment providers and services after competitive bidding has been fully implemented in the initial 10 MSAs. The bill would prohibit Medicare from expanding competitive bidding to additional MSAs or applying bid rates to non-bid areas unless specifically authorized by Congress.