HomeCare Magazine published an article on Monday stating that a group of 166 economists, computer scientists and operation researchers submitted a letter on the program to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health addressing their concerns about the flaws in competitive bidding for Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS). The signatories did believe that a successful competitive bidding program could happen, but that the current system has several flaws that need to be changed to achieve “low costs and high quality.”
Brett Katzman, a PhD from Kennesay State University, who signed the letter, states that because of the excessive low-bid (often below the costs) the initial cost savings are not sustainable in the long run.
What do you think about the letter? Is it possible to have competitive bidding achieve low costs and high quality? What do you think will happen next?
The Users First Alliance, an alliance dedicated to lobbying for wheelchair users, clinicians and providers access to seating and mobility equipment, placed their first ad (featured to the left) in the Washington Post supplement, “Advancements in Mobility,” and featured a Q&A with Users First Alliance Executive Director, Ann Eubanks (on the 3rd page).
The message was that the Americans with Disability Act has improved mobility in several ways. There is wheelchair accessible parking, wheelchair accessible restrooms but that access to wheelchairs is still lagging behind.
In the Q&A section, Eubanks points out that Medicare only recognizes mobility needs of those confines of the home.
What do you think of the ad, the article or message?
*The ROHO Group is a member of the Users First Alliance. To find out more information visit the Frequently Asked Questions page of their website.
The International Home Care & Rehabilitation Exhibition will be from September 29 – October 1 in Tokyo, Japan from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. It will be at Tokyo Big Sight (Tokyo International Exhibition Center) and is free to the public. The show is organized by Health and Walfare Information Association and Japan National Council of Social Welfare. The event will have around 500 exhibitors in the home care and rehabilitation industries.
The exhibition will showcase several products including mobility aids, bed-related products, bathing products, aids for daily living, communication equipment, artificial limbs & orthopedic products and more. Of course, The ROHO Group will be there to showcase our products. Stop by the booths and say hello to our president, Tom Borcherding.
For quite some time we’ve been trying to get adjustable skin protection seating pulled out of competitive bidding. Whether you support or oppose competitive bidding I think that everyone would agree that in order to effectively bid anything requires the items your are bidding on to be well defined. This simply isn’t the case for adjustable skin protection seat cushions. Currently all products that are classified as adjustable skin protection cushions are assigned to one of four codes:
* Adjustable skin protection cushion < 22 inches wide
* Adjustable skin protection cushion, 22 inches wide or greater
* Adjustable skin protection and positioning cushion < 22 inches wide
* Adjustable skin protection and positioning cushion, 22 inches wide or greater
There are over 4000 products of various shapes, sizes, materials, durability, features and functions assigned to one of these four codes. Bottom line these codes are not distinct enough to effectively bid. Any formula that combines under-defined codes with a bidding structure that selects winners strictly on who submits the lowest price will undoubtedly lead to providers submitting bids based on the products that cost them the least to obtain. This will reduce, if not eliminate, beneficiaries’ access to the specific products and services they need.
To date we haven’t succeeded in our effort but we have been making progress. More and more beneficiaries, clinicians and organizations have come to support our effort. For example, the ITEM Coalition, which represents over 50 disabled groups has identified our issue as a top priority. In addition, we’ve been gaining support in the Congress. Most recently Congressman Langevin (RI), the only member of the House of Representatives in a wheelchair came out in support of our position. In addition, at a recent Congressional hearing on competitive bidding, Congressman Shimkus (IL) posed numerous questions regarding the appropriateness of bidding these products.
Attached is a letter that I’ve drafted to be sent to members of the House of Representatives and Senate asking that they send a letter to Secretary Sebelius requesting that adjustable skin protection seating be excluded from round 2 of competitive bidding. In addition, I’ve attached the letter from Congressman Langevin.
I really believe that we’ve got CMS leaning toward not including adjustable seating in round 2, but there are no guarantees. We need to continually reinforce the messages that competitively bidding adjustable seating will:
* Negatively impact beneficiary access to the goods and services they need.
* As Congressman Langevin put it: “…in limiting access to the appropriate adjustable skin protection seat cushion for wheelchair users, Medicare will not save money, but will instead spend more on costly medical care for wounds that could have been prevented.”
If you agree with our issue I’d really appreciate you personalizing the attached letter (Letter to Congress 9-20) and sending it out to your local Representative and / or Senators asking them to send a letter like Congressman Langevin’s (Langevin Letter to Sebelius 9-13-10).
Thanks in advance for your consideration and any assistance you deem appropriate. Please let me know if you have any questions, need any assistance or get any responses.
J. David McCausland
Senior VP of Planning
& Government Affairs
The 2010 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals will be hosted at Bally’s Las Vegas from Sept. 22-24.
The meeting includes more than 800 leaders in the SCI/D health care and research and more than 20 continuing education units. The conference includes the latest in spinal cord medicine and care and health and wellness related topics. It will also discuss issues related to numerous SCI/D including multiple sclerosis and acute coronary syndrome.
Tricia and Darren from The ROHO Institute will be at the event so stop by The ROHO Group booth and say hello.
For more information on the Congress on SCI you can visit the website or contact Brenda Finkel by phone at (202) 416-7704 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.