WASHINGTON, DC – After the Thanksgiving recess, the House of Representatives is currently scheduled to be in session for just 12 days before the end of the year; the Senate is set to be in for 15 days.
The available time frame is even tighter for a chance at having the industry’s legislative language from recent rural bidding-relief and CRT accessories bills included in Federal debt ceiling legislation. That legislation would need to be passed by Dec 11 to avoid another government shutdown episode.
Whether you’ve already been in repeated contact with your Congressional representatives on these issues, or if you’re a relative newcomer to advocacy efforts, or your level of lobbying engagement lies somewhere in between, AAHomecare needs your help reinforcing the need for Capitol Hill action before CMS’ new plans expand the reach of the bidding program go into effect on January 1, 2016.
Send a letter to Congress here in support of S. 2312 and similar forthcoming House legislation on rural relief under the competitive bidding program.
Send a letter to Congress here in support of H.R. 3229 and S. 2196, legislation to exclude complex rehab technology accessories from competitive bidding program.
Please follow up your letters with a call to your Senators and Representative. You can also ask for the name and email address of the individual who handles healthcare legislation, and follow up with an email of your own. For the rural bidding issue, you can include language (or link to) this recent letter of support and our from AAHomecare and other leading industry stakeholders and HME Associations, as well as our related issue brief. For CRT accessories, you may find this updated issue brief useful.
New Study Shows Adverse Effects of Bidding Program on Diabetic Patients
A new study focusing on health outcomes for patients subject to the competitive bidding program using diabetic testing products finds that the program led to adverse health outcomes, including higher inpatient costs as well as increased hospitalization and death, for diabetic Medicare beneficiaries.
The report also criticizes CMS for their evaluation of the program and their failure to show the true impact the bidding program has on Medicare beneficiaries. The study, titled “Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Competitive Bidding Program: Assessment of Impact on Beneficiary Acquisition of Diabetes-Testing Supplies and Durable Medical Equipment Prosthetics Orthotics and Supplies–Associated Health Outcomes” was released yesterday by the National Minority Quality Forum.
AAHomecare is among the organizations providing support for the study, along with Abbott, Acelity Inc., LifeScan/Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Solutions Companies; Roche Diabetes Care, US Healthcare Supply, and US MED. The report’s findings reinforce calls from leaders in the HME sector, as well as from patient and disability organizations, for further evaluation on the impact that competitive bidding has on beneficiaries.
AAHomecare plans to use these findings to generate additional support among patient advocacy groups for our efforts to make needed changes in the bidding program, and to use with policymakers on Capitol Hill to advance bidding-related legislative initiatives. Read the full report as well as AAHomecare’s summary of the findings.