Home infusion stakeholders await fallout

Friday, December 20, 2013

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The list of home infusion contract suppliers in the Round 1 re-compete of competitive bidding includes some big names, but stakeholders say about half of the list includes companies without an associated pharmacy.

That has them worried that there won’t be enough contract suppliers to take care of patients.

“We are nervous that some patients could fall through the cracks,” said Ken Van Pool, vice president of legislative affairs for the National Home Infusion Association (NHIA). 

The list of contract suppliers, released Oct. 31, includes national providers like Coram, Walgreen’s Home Infusion and Lincare, as well as local and regional companies.

Because of the way the infusion category was structured, the list also includes companies that do insulin pumps.

“The question is, are they going to focus on insulin pumps and ignore the infusion pumps?” said Van Pool. “And what happens when somebody gets transferred to one of these companies and gets ping-ponged around to different providers?”

The association highly doubts that capacity will be met, says Van Pool. Across the nine competitive bidding areas, about 50% of infusion contract suppliers do infusion, but there are some CBAs where that number is as low as 30%, he said. 

The NHIA has created a hotline for patient problems related to the bidding program and a handout similar to People for Quality Care’s. The association is asking its members to share the hotline and handout with their patients.

“We are looking for specific infusion issues,” said Van Pool. “We know there’s a problem, but we need to get patient stories to make our point.”