Competitive Bidding: What it means for your access to quality, affordable home medical equipment.
For nearly 30 years, we have prided ourselves and built our business on the quality of equipment and customer care we provide. We have always made it a priority to only offer the best in durable home medical equipment. Our team’s primary goal is to make certain that you are happy with your equipment and that you feel comfortable and confident using your equipment, which is why we always make our time and attention available. We never cut corners. We never take shortcuts. We never compromise our quality. But soon we may have to along with every home medical equipment supplier in this country.
Competitive bidding for home medical equipment suppliers is a new program within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) system that attempts to lower Medicare spending. Since 2011, more and more regions across the country have been requiring home medical equipment companies to participate in the competitive bidding process in order to continue to work with CMS and other hospitals and medical centers. While lowering unnecessary spending is very important, the competitive bidding process does little to reduce “unnecessary” spending and instead is threatening the very quality and care we offer our customers.
CMS has designed a program that does not hold bidders accountable for the quality of their products or services. In fact, there is no verification or certification system in place to insure that bidders even carry the type of equipment they are bidding on supplying, let alone if they have knowledge and experience in servicing that type of equipment. Companies are forced to bid so low in order to win any contracts that there is no way they can provide a quality product and be able to stay in business. The competitive bidding process threatens to destroy many home medical equipment companies and significantly reduce the access people have to quality products and services.
How will competitive bidding affect you as a Medicare beneficiary?
• You may be forced to find a new provider of home medical equipment if your current provider is not awarded a bid
• A new provider could be farther away, increasing travel time to receive new equipment and services
• Beneficiaries in rural areas may be more affected, as most medical equipment providers are in metropolitan areas
• Providers who win bids take on larger caseloads, causing longer wait times for equipment and customer care, which can result in immobility, emergency room visits and hospital stays for customers
• No certification is required for a provider to win a bid, therefore they may not even carry the equipment they bid on providing — let alone have experience and knowledge in servicing that type of equipment
• Low bid equipment is the cheapest equipment on the market, making it susceptible to malfunctions and failure
• You may no longer have access to your preferred equipment and will have limited options and less access to the latest models that could improve your daily living
What types of equipment are subject to competitive bidding?
• Oxygen supplies and equipment
• Standard power wheelchairs, scooters and related supplies
• Mail-order diabetic replacement supplies
• Enteral nutrients, equipment and supplies
• CPAR, RADs and relates supplies and accessories
• Hospital beds and related accessories
• Walkers and related accessories
• Negative pressure wound therapy pumps and related supplies
• Support surfaces
Is there anything you can do to stop this?
Yes. You can contact your state representative and senators and ask them to repeal the Medicare Competitive Bidding Program for durable medical equipment. You can also call the Congressional Switchboard toll free at 220.127.116.1121.