More than two dozen national and state organizations wrote to House and Senate leaders this week encouraging them to take up a bill that would delay the implementation of competitive bidding rates for medical devices in certain regions.
The groups say that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has implemented an “aggressive timeline” for phasing in competitive bidding prices for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies. There are bills in both the House and the Senate that would slow down the phase-in.
The program sets up a bidding program for medical equipment suppliers in parts of the country, mostly rural areas, to serve Medicare beneficiaries. Participating suppliers were awarded contracts based on their ability to serve Medicare beneficiaries in certain regions. The program began to be phased in in January, with final phase-in scheduled for July 1.
“Six months is not enough time to monitor disruption in Medicare beneficiaries’ access to the [durable medical equipment] items they need, and to evaluate what impact major reductions in payment have on their access to life-sustaining equipment and services,” the 33 groups wrote.
“This delay will provide more time for Congress to evaluate the effects of the first rate reduction from January 1, 2016 on beneficiary access,” they add.
Signing groups include the Advanced Medical Technology Association, the National Association for the Support of Long Term Care and the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology, as well as two dozen state-based organizations.