If you had to choose, how would you prefer that Medicare make its next DMEPOS reimbursement adjustment?

Friday, May 31, 2002

Cut fee Schedule - 59%
Other - 20%
IR - 17%
Competitive Bidding - 4%

NewsPoll based on answers provided by 46 respondents.

"There needs to be a complete fee schedule overhaul.  True Medicare reform will be most progressive with a standardized system.  We must be proactive not reactive.  We must treat the disease not the symptoms."

- Danny Klaus, Texas Medical Distributors

"If the government insists on more destruction why don't they just take over the homecare industry and see if they can do a better job themselves? I'm sure they couldn't do the job for twice the price."

- Mike McCarthy, RRT, Noah's Ark HomeCare

There will never be a realistic fee schedule until the reimbursement is calculated on two separate factors: cost of goods and level of service required. The model for payment used in health care by ALL payers would be laughed out of most other industries. In a meeting I attended recently, seven very knowledgeable and experienced DME owners were incapable of explaining inherent reasonableness to me. Does anybody understand this? We understand competitive bidding: It's purpose is to remove competition.

Greg Jones
HME Marketing Consultant
Federal Medical Supply
Augusta, Ga.

Competitive bidding goes against the 'small' business, which is the heart of America, while inherent reasonableness is just not 'fair' and 'just.'

Mary Ellen Spradlin
Health Care Reimbursement Solutions
Ortonville, Mich.

The solution to the flawed reimbursement system starts with profession-alizing the industry through educating, testing and credentialing the individuals who serve within it. It continues with accreditation and standards of practice. It not only welcomes, but also creates methods to reduce and prevent fraud. It involves electronic submission of claims. It reduces costs for both payers and providers while maintaining reasonable profit margins. Enough Band-Aids have been applied to the problem. It is time for major surgery.

David A. Miller
Chief Executive Officer
The MED Group
Lubbock, Texas

Competitive bidding has the potential to kill the industry. The traditional mentality some of us have had is 'If this cut doesn't affect me, why worry?' We are an industry made up of a minority of advocates and a majority who sit on the sidelines and watch. If we continue that way, a majority of us won't survive. If you don't belong to AAH, join today. If you don't know who your state association is, find out. If you are a member, but you don't participate in legislative efforts, the only person you can blame is the face you see in the mirror.

Tim Pontius
Chairman, President and CEO
Young Medical Equipment
Toledo, Ohio

The best option, if there has to be cuts, would be a modest (2% to 5%) across-the-board reduction and freeze for a fixed period of time. This would allow businesses to plan, knowing what their revenues would be. The other options are too mercurial to permit developing a business plan. The worst would be IR. It gives too much authority to the DMERCs, which are given incentives to reduce spending and would do so with little regard to the impact on providers.

David T. Williams
Director of Government Relations
Elyria, Ohio

In a free market society, the best value does not always carry the lowest price. The Medicare bureaucrats must visit with the smaller HME/DME suppliers, the 'mom & pop shops,' and gain a true understanding of the services provided. It is these services that the beneficiaries demand yet Medicare does not want to pay for. We must remain vigilant to ensure that fair market value is assessed to all products and services provided.

Duane Ridenour
HME Industry Analyst
QS/1 Data Systems
Spartanburg, S.C.

Healthcare funding has the potential to join Social Security as a political 'third rail.' How do I prefer CMS make its next DMEPOS reimbursement adjustment? Restore the cost of living increase to home oxygen, maintain the DME cost of living increase, and listen to beneficiaries' preferences for receiving their healthcare services. I am sure a common refrain among hospitalized consumers is, 'I cannot wait to get home.'

Leslie P. DeFelice
President and CEO
DeFeliceCare, Inc.
Wheeling, W. Va.

Healthcare needs continuity and a level playing field. Giving an unfair advantage to one player over the other impacts on a service-orientated industry in a negative manner. Let's stop cutting each other's throats so that we can all survive in a very tight marketplace.

Anthony Albanese
Best Healthcare

Competitive bidding is the first step on the path to nationalized health care. First Medicare picks your DME company, then your nursing agency, then your doctor and hospital - all on the basis of lowest price. Sound like what you want?

Kevin Hill
CPS Medical, Inc
Tyler, Texas