If you have a chronic illness and need home medical supplies through a vendor that gets paid by Medicare, you may have already been affected. The Medicare Competitive Bidding Program for Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) was started in 2010 by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This program was started to save taxpayer dollars. However, many health and disability advocates are pointing out that the consequences far outweigh any benefit of this program.
This new program started out in 9 cities and is expected to be nationwide in July 2013. The process requires that home medical supply and equipment providers submit a bid to Medicare in one or all of the categories. These categories include:
[li]Respiratory Equipment and Related Supplies and Accessories (oxygen, CPAP, RAD, nebulizers)[/li]
[li]Standard Mobility Equipment and Related Accessories (walkers, wheelchairs, scooters)[/li]
[li]General Home Equipment and Related Supplies and Accessories (TENS devices, hospital beds, commode, lifts, support surfaces)[/li]
[li]Enteral Nutrients, Equipment and Supplies[/li]
[li]Negative Pressure Wound Therapy Pumps and Related Supplies and Accessories[/li]
[li]External Infusion Pumps and Supplies[/li]
People For Quality Care is an advocacy organization that has been following up with people who have been through the first rounds of bidding and cuts. They’re finding that some of the smaller home care supply companies have had to close down because they lost the bids and can no longer compete in the market place. More importantly, people have had to change over to new supply companies that are usually out of state with less communication and longer wait times to receive the goods and services.
Can you imagine waiting over a month for some new pads for your TENS device? So what can you do?
|Review your situation
||Are you on Medicare? Are you receiving medical equipment through home care supply companies? If yes, review any paperwork that you’ve received from CMS. You will need to choose a home care supply company. Do your research and read the small print.|
||There was a bill proposed in the House of Representatives called the Medicare DMEPOS Market Pricing Program Act of 2012. Unfortunately, this bill is currently dead. There is work underway to start a new one. Pain Camp will keep you updated when there are changes with this.|
||Having a chronic illness many times means having just enough energy to get through the day. It may be hard to get out and actually meet with your elected officials. People For Quality Care has an easy solution. By going to their Legislative Action Center page, you can plug in your zip code and send off a pre-written letter to your Representative.|
Pain Camp is a safe place to share your thoughts, experience, strength and hope. Have you already been affected by the new Medicare Competitive Bidding? If you haven’t been affected yet, which of your home care medical supplies will you need to review to ensure a smooth transition?
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