9/08/16 American Association for Homecare announcement......
CMS Claims "very few beneficiary complaints and no negative impact on beneficiary health status" Under Bidding Program
CMS today released Single Payment Amounts (SPAs) for 2017 Round 1, as well as this statement which includes the assertion that "very few beneficiary complaints and no negative impact on beneficiary health status" have resulted from the program.
AAHomecare's statement on these claims about impacts on beneficiaries follows below. AAHomecare will also provide additional analysis the 2017 Round 1 SPAs as soon as possible.
CMS’ statement today asserting that the bidding program isn’t affecting beneficiary access flies in the face of both common sense, as well as what we’re hearing from home medical equipment providers, hospital discharge planners, and HME patients across the nation.
Other CMS pronouncements of this type haven’t stood up to the test of time, such as their original assertion that unlicensed bidders taking part in the program wasn’t a problem. However, just a few months ago, the HHS Office of Inspector General confirmed that significant numbers of unlicensed providers had, in fact, taken part in in Round 2 of the bidding program in several states that license HME. Time will also tell how well today’s claims by CMS hold up.
We’re especially concerned about the disruption for beneficiaries following the application of bidding derived-pricing to rural and non-bid areas, reducing prices by 50-60% for providers who don’t get any commensurate increase in volume that bidding program participants receive. We’re getting widespread reports that these cuts are beginning to severely impact our industry’s ability to support seniors and people with disabilities in small communities nationwide.
Fortunately, Congress is becoming aware that these cuts are just too severe for rural providers to bear, and the HME community strongly supports their efforts to pause these deep cuts so we can get a better look at their true impacts on patients.