Briefly: AAH fly-in; bidding investigation requested

Sunday, May 18, 2008

ARLINGTON, Va. - Providers who take part in AAHomecare's Washington fly-in on Wednesday to lobby against competitive bidding have another piece of ammunition to help make their case. On May 15, Reps. John Tanner (D-Tenn.), David Hobson (R-Ohio) and Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) sent a Dear Colleague letter to other members of the House, asking that they support delaying Round 1 of national competitive bidding for one year. In their letter, the trio write: "I am sure that every office has heard from DMEPOS providers in their districts with concerns over how CMS has conducted the bidding process for this program. Multiple concerns have been raised that should be addressed before this program is allowed to go forward. I hope you will review the attached letter and join us in sharing our concerns and urging that implementation be delayed." The lawmakers intend to forward the letter and signatures to key members of the House Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. AAHomecare expects about 150 providers to participate in the fly-in.

Bidding investigation requested
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Three Southern California lawmakers on Tuesday sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Sec. Michael Leavitt, asking for an investigation into possible bidding improprieties in the Riverside-San Bernardino competitive bidding area (CBA). In the letter, Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., and Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., state: "If a review of the initial bid prices show collusionary activity, it also calls into question the numerous other bids for categories that were also developed by the same health care consultant." Officials from Pride Mobility Products met with Lewis and Mack on May 2 in California to discuss the suspicious bids. Pride is now conducting similar investigations in the Dallas, Miami and Orlando CBAs, said Seth Johnson, Pride's vice president of government affairs. "We're confident that with more effort in Dallas, we'll be able to do the same there and in Florida as well."

Contact your legislators
HALIFAX, Va. - Memorial Day offers the perfect opportunity for HME providers to meet with their congressional representatives, who will be home for the long holiday weekend, and discuss competitive bidding and other industry issues, the National Association of Independent Medical Equipment Suppliers (NAIMES), stressed last week. The next Congressional recess runs May 24 to June 2. During that time almost all members of the House and Senate will be in their home districts gathering votes and money for fall re-election bids. According to NAIMES: "This is the time for suppliers to get out of their offices and visit the district offices of your Congressman and Senators. It is particularly important that suppliers contact both senators and try to set up meetings with them personally or with their health legislative aide. A complete list of the health legislative aids can be found on the NAIMES Web site Now is the time to start building the relationships at home that will bear fruit later in Washington."

KCI teams up with MED
SAN ANTONIO - Kinetic Concepts entered into a three-year agreement last week with The MED Group, which will serve as KCI's preferred HME provider network manager. In this role, MED members will help referral sources transfer patients to the home and set up KCI's therapeutic support systems.