Health outcomes 'stable' in bid areas, CMS says
WASHINGTON – CMS reiterated this week that competitive bidding has not changed health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries.
The agency on Feb 15 released its health status monitoring summary of findings through October 2011.
“Consistent with prior analyses, we find that beneficiary health outcomes are stable in competitive bidding areas,” CMS stated in a press release.
The agency has been conducting health status monitoring on a monthly basis since the program kicked off in January 2011.
As part of its October findings, CMS has also released a broad-view analysis that compares the impact of competitive bidding on the general Medicare population, as well as beneficiaries likely to use bid equipment based on their health conditions. For these groups, it compares rates of health outcomes (such as length of hospital stays and number of ER visits) in the bid areas to rates in regions without bidding.
“The new analysis enables an easier comparison between subpopulations and between areas with competitive bidding and without competitive bidding,” CMS stated.
The agency noted that mortality and morbidity rates commonly display seasonal trends that are unrelated to competitive bidding, and that the rates that appear more variable tend to be based on a smaller number of beneficiaries.
CMS’s release comes as HME stakeholders are in Washington, D.C., this week en masse to lobby lawmakers to support an alternative to competitive bidding called the market-pricing program or MPP.
One reason stakeholders are telling lawmakers competitive bidding needs to be retooled: A recent report by Prof. Peter Cramton that details negative health outcomes in each bid area as a result of the program.
To review CMS’s findings, go here.