Coalition to Medicare: Exempt rehab from competitive bidding
March 15, 2004
WASHINGTON - Â The products and services provided by high-tech rehab and assistive technology suppliers should be exempted from any form of Medicare competitive bidding, according to a position paper released last week by the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology.
NCART feels that people with disabilities need explicit protection from the negative impact competitive bidding would have on their access to appropriate high-tech rehab and assistive technology, appropriate evaluation, fitting, follow- up and service. Â Therefore, NCART stated in its position paper, Congress should amend the Medicare Modernization and Prescription Drug Act of 2003 to exempt high-techÂ rehab and assistive technology products and services from any form of competitiveÂ bidding. Â
MMA calls for a gradual roll out of competitive bidding for DME beginning in 2007.
NCART formed in February after at least seven AAHomecare rehab members left to form the new membership organization focused on the needs of high-end rehab providers. NCART's board of directors includes officials from many of the top rehab companies, including Sunrise Medical, National Seating and Mobility, Invacare and Pride Mobility. Sharon Hildebrandt, former executive director of RATC, also left AAHomecare to head the new group.
The Medicare Modernization and PrescriptionÂ Drug Act of 2003 gives Medicare the authority to exempt certain productsÂ from competitive bidding when “â€¦the savings would be inadequate to justify theÂ administrative costs or when competitive bidding may have an adverse impact onÂ the quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries.” Â This language serves to documentÂ the intent of Congress that competitive bidding be used judiciously, according to NCART.
Competitive bidding will result in DME suppliers reducing services and selectingÂ products provided based on cost, not appropriateness. Â A reduction in services or limitation of products based on price alone which would result from competitiveÂ bidding, will have a severe negative impact on clinical outcomes associated with theÂ provision of high-tech rehab and assistive technology, according to NCART.