Medicare’s DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program has been in the public eye before its implementation in January 1, 2011 with lots of clamor on its possible negative impact on the Medicare population. DMEPOS or durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies include wheelchairs, oxygen concentrators, pacemakers, hospital beds, prosthetic limbs and other medical equipment intended for typical elderly and/or disabled.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment give emphasis on price competition among suppliers and providers. The innovation made on DMEPOS competitive bidding program greatly affects vulnerable medical beneficiaries of Medicare specifically on their freedom of choice, access and avail quality DME supplies. During the testing phase of the competitive bidding program, major problems were encountered by patients and beneficiaries that include additional costs to Medicare for numerous emergency room visits and longer hospital confinement, unfamiliar DME providers, and inaccessibility to vital equipment and services.
The CMS Medicare program will also take its toll on the marketplace with DME suppliers and providers engage in cutthroat economic competition to get their bid approved. Reduction in the cost of durable medical supplies will lead to inferior product quality and service for Medicare beneficiaries. Most DME bidders will resort to “predatory” and “suicide” bidding that result to unrealistically low bid prices. Small players in the bidding market such as Dallas medical supplies companies will have a hard time competing with large firms. The DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program could take out most trusted and preferred DME suppliers of Medicare beneficiaries.
Various Home Medical Equipment (HME) organizations and advocacy groups are lobbying for the repeal of the competitive bidding program from influential members of the House of Representative. Certain bills for its repeal or modification are already sponsored for deliberation in the US Congress. Toll-free numbers are set up by HME groups for queries, feedbacks and updates of the program. The competitive bidding will affect nine major metropolitan areas of Charlotte, N.C.; Cleveleand, Dallas-Fort Worth, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Orlando, Miami, Pittsburgh and Riverside, CA. The unintended consequences of DMEPOS Competitive Bidding have yet to come and change the culture of the United States Medicare program.