The National Association for the Support of Long Term Care (NASL), Alexandria, Va, hails the introduction of bipartisan legislation to repeal the Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) competitive bidding program. The Fairness in Medicare Bidding Act (HR 1041) was introduced by Congressmen Glenn Thompson (R-Pa) and Jason Altmire (D-Pa).

NASL has criticized what it characterizes as defects in the competitive bidding program that it says could lead to serious problems for Medicare beneficiaries, including disruptions in access to trusted suppliers, limited choices among supplies, geographic hardships and diminished quality. “Flaws in the competitive bidding program have been chronicled by patients, patient advocates, clinicians, suppliers and even academic experts, but our primary concern is that it disrupts the continuum of care by preventing patients from seeing providers of their choice to obtain the appropriate supplies and services they need,” said Cynthia Morton, NASL executive vice president.

Morton commended the two Pennsylvania legislators for their leadership in sponsoring the legislation to repeal what the organization deems a "flawed" program, which was implemented in nine metropolitan areas January 1, 2011. “The leadership demonstrated by Congressmen Thompson and Altmire in working to restore access, service, and fairness to the provision of medical products and supplies will benefit Medicare beneficiaries in maintaining their quality of life. Patients deserve greater protections than what they are currently receiving under the DMEPOS competitive bidding program,” Morton said.

Morton said that Congress tried to correct some of the most glaring problems in the competitive bidding program in 2008, when it delayed the program just 2 weeks after its implementation. “Unfortunately, the problems in the program went well beyond what could be repaired, and these festering issues are now affecting Medicare beneficiary access to appropriate levels of care,” she said. “The best way to reduce costs in Medicare is through using policies that work, and not by investing in a deeply flawed program that could ultimately hurt the very patients that we are trying to help".

NASL Competitive Bidding Primer

NASL is a trade association of ancillary providers of products and services to the post-acute industry, representing its members on Capitol Hill in legislative and regulatory issues that impact the quality of care to patients in the long-term and pos- acute care setting.

[Source: NASL]