government

CMS says DME bidding will save money

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 19, 2010

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A competitive bidding program that will be used by Medicare in limited areas to determine prices for certain durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies is expected to save more than $17 billion over 10 years, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

In addition, beneficiaries in the nine areas of the country involved in the program will see average savings of about 32% off the current cost of items, CMS said in a July 1 statement. The first round is scheduled to begin on Jan. 1, 2011, in the metropolitan areas of Charlotte, N.C.; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Dallas; Kansas City (Kan. and Mo.); Miami; Orlando, Fla.; Pittsburgh; and Riverside, Calif. CMS plans to announce the suppliers that submitted winning bids to participate in the program in September.

The bidding program has been staunchly opposed by the American Assn. for Homecare, which represents medical equipment suppliers. The association said the $17 billion in savings cited by CMS is the result of "suicide bids" from suppliers, and that the program will put thousands of firms out of business and reduce access to care.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2010/07/19/gvbf0719.htm.

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