For as many bad ideas as CMS and Congress have imposed on the HME industry, none has the potential to be as harmful on HME providers and our patients as the so-called “competitive” bidding program.
As such, we’re pleased to announce that U.S. Representative Kendrick Meek (D-FL) introduced a budget neutral, bi-partisan bill yesterday afternoon, HR 3790, to repeal the highly criticized DME competitive bidding program.
CAMPS and other first-round states, along with the Accredited Medical Equipment Providers of America and the American Association for Homecare, have been working aggressively towards this goal for months and it’s now time to engage HME providers, consumers and advocates nationwide in gaining support for HR 3790.
What You Need to Do:
1) Make contact! Contact your Member(s) of Congress as soon as possible and ask that they support HR 3790 and join their colleagues to repeal this terrible program and avoid harming California’s Medicare beneficiaries and HME providers. (See listing below for resources.)
Your “Ask”… “Please co-sponsor HR 3790 to repeal so called “competitive bidding” for HME/DME services. This bill will give Congress the same savings that the bidding program was projected to give, without unnecessarily eliminating 90% of the local providers and without limiting a patient’s access to quality products and timely services.”
If your representative is listed below as one who has already signed on to the bill, please contact their office and thank them for the support!
2) Original co-sponsors – Be aware that there are 16 original co-sponsors who joined Rep. Meek and signed on to the bill before its introduction. One is from California:
Jason Altmire (D-PA)
John Boccieri (D-OH)
JoAnn Emerson (D-MO)
Sam Farr (D-CA)
Marcia Fudge (D-OH)
Alcee Hastings (D-FL)
Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)
Rob Klein (D-FL)
Dan Maffei (D-NY)
John Murtha (D-PA)
Tim Ryan (D-OH)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
Health Shuler (D-NC)
Glenn Thompson (R-PA)
Pat Tiberi (R-OH)
Robert Wexler (D-FL)
3) Review background information and resources – Several documents are linked below to assist you with your contacts:
4) Report feedback to CAMPS – As you’re making contacts with California’s Congressional offices, please share any information with Gloria Peterson, CAMPS asst. executive director at gpetersonamgroupus (gpetersonamgroupus) about their positions/concerns with HR 3790. Since bidding will be starting in just a matter of days, we know many of you will be extremely busy so please try to make contacts as soon as possible on this critical repeal legislation.
This program needs to be permanently stopped!
Understanding the Bill’s “Pay For”:
It’s important to note that in order to gain support from a Congress that is dealing with budget deficits and health care changes, budget neutrality is absolutely necessary. HR 3790 is budget neutral, calling for minor cuts (in all DME except Group 3 Complex Rehab) of 0.25% for three years and a single 0.5% cut two years later combined with a Consumer Price Index freeze.
AAHomecare reviewed the actuary figures, which added to the 9.5% cut HME providers took in January 2009 to delay the bidding program, is equal to 19.5%, the same savings projected from the bidding demonstration projects, which the program was based on. The following summation was provided by AAHomecare to explain the bill’s “pay-for” that establishes budget neutrality:
- Eliminate the CPI-U updates for all DME in 2010, 2011, and 2012 (i.e., no update in these years). Then, the DME fee schedule would be reduced by 0.25 percentage points in each of these three years.
- Complex rehabilitative power wheelchairs recognized by the Secretary as classified within group 3 or higher would receive a CPI-U update in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
- In 2013, all DME would receive a CPI-U update.
- In 2014, all DME would receive a CPI-U update. Complex rehabilitative power wheelchairs recognized by the Secretary as classified within group 3 or higher would receive a CPI-U update plus 2 percentage points. All other DME would receive the CPI-U only with no additional 2 percentage point increase.
- In 2015, complex rehabilitative power wheelchairs recognized by the Secretary as classified within group 3 or higher would receive a CPI-U update. All other DME would receive no CPI-U update as well as a 0.5 percentage point reduction in fee schedule payments.
- In 2016 and subsequent years, all DME would receive the CPI-U update annually.
With the expansion of Round Two bidding, the threat of Medicare implementing Round One prices nationwide, and the possibilty of other insurance carriers including Medi-Cal mimicking competitive bid prices, this is a bill that the entire industry can stand behind. CAMPS appreciates that even though you are working harder than ever to survive, and a majority of you will be preparing to re-bid soon, the time is now to stop this program and it will take the efforts from everyone, regardless of where they are located, to enact this into law.
Please do your part and engage your legislators today!
With the daily activity in Washington focused on health care reform, they need to hear from you…..a health care provider in their district. If you have any questions about the bill or need any assistance with your contacts, do not hesitate to contact CAMPS asst. executive director Gloria Peterson at gpetersonamgroupus (gpetersonamgroupus) or 916/443-2115 x104 directly.
For more information, visit www.campsone.org