Industry group opposes Medicare bidding plan

A Colorado medical equipment industry group is supporting a bill that provides an alternative to Medicare competitive bidding programs.

Congress is considering a bill that will reduce reimbursements to medical equipment providers, but will end competitive bidding for Medicare projects.

The Colorado Association of Medical Equipment Services believes that the current process is a “scheme that discourages competition, reduces access to care … and puts dozens of home-care providers out of business,” said board member Doug Coleman.

Congress delayed the implementation for the selective contracting program in 2008, but the bidding process is now under way in nine cities with an additional 91 areas to be included in 2011, including Colorado Springs.

“Competitive bidding sounds reasonable on the surface – however, in its current form, it is very dangerous for patients who need home medical equipment,” Coleman said. “The program forces providers to submit unsustainable suicide bids. Only one in ten providers will be awarded a bid, so nine out of ten providers will close their businesses … the ‘winning’ bidder will not be able to survive a the bid rates that were necessary to secure the contract.”