Group works to exempt ostomy
WESTMONT, N.J. - Ostomy supplies may or may not be included in the first round of competitive bidding, and the United Ostomy Association of America (UOAA) hopes to permanently exclude the products.
"We're talking to legislators who we hope will introduce something on our behalf, " said Linda Aukett, chair of advocacy. "We're hopeful that with the new Congress we'll get a little more traction."
Aukett estimates there are about 500,000 ostomates in the United States, and about two-thirds of them rely on Medicare.
"From an economic sense, we really don't think there's much to be peeled off that's going to result in significant savings," she said.
Historically, reimbursement rates for these items have been low, and there has been no increase in several years, said Patti Langenbach, president and CEO of Medical Care Products in Jacksonville, Fla.
"The margins are getting smaller," she said. "What's going to happen is people aren't going to get the brand or type of product they need."
Meanwhile, Aukett doesn't want to see patient access curtailed should NCB force more suppliers out of the market.
"We've already seen the number of suppliers decrease markedly from what it was five to 10 years ago," she said.