Friday, July 25, 2014
Bipartisan Coalition in Congress Requests IG Study of Medicare’s Competitive Bidding Program
Cite Concerns Over Current Programs’ Threat to Quality Care
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Tom Price, M.D. (GA-06) along with a bipartisan group of 138 members in the House of Representatives sent a letter to Inspector General Daniel Levinson at the Department of Health and Human Services requesting the OIG conduct a study of Medicare’s Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) competitive bidding program and the National Mail Order Program for diabetic testing supplies. The purpose of the study is to determine what impact these Medicare programs are having on the accessibility and quality of care for beneficiaries in light of evidence that the programs are not adequately addressing manipulation occurring in the bidding process, a proliferation of non-compliance by contractors and inadequate transparency measures. Congressman Price applauded this bipartisan effort, saying:
“We can all agree that seniors ought to have access to quality, affordable health care. Moreover, there’s no question that a well-orchestrated competitive bidding program can provide effective and efficient services to meet the often complex needs of Medicare beneficiaries. The concerns shared by a large bipartisan coalition in the House are that those goals are not being met by the current system. That failure means the health and well-being of seniors is threatened and efforts to make Medicare a more responsive and innovative program are woefully underperforming. The bipartisan outpouring of support for this review of the competitive bidding program is a testament to the importance of this effort, the severity of the problems inherent in the status quo, and Congress’ commitment to addressing them.”
The letter requests that the Inspector General investigate three key areas of concerns:
- The process by which CMS develops the composite price from which the median price is derived for DMEPOS goods and services, as it directly impacts seniors’ access to products and services.
- The current enforcement of contracted supplier organizations.
- The health impact on beneficiaries.
Click here for a copy of the letter.
Congressman Price is the vice chairman of the House Budget Committee. An orthopaedic surgeon, he spent more than 20 years caring for patients. For the past two Congresses, Price has introduced The Medicare DMEPOS Market Pricing Program Act (H.R. 1717) – legislation to replace the current Medicare Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies competitive bidding system with a sustainable market pricing program (MPP) that is based upon sound economic principles that are embraced universally by auction experts across the U.S. To date, H.R. 1717 has 180 cosponsors in the House of Representatives.