Incontinence, ostomy up for bid

Friday, August 31, 2007

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Dave Anderson found himself in the unlikely role of spokesman in July, when he appeared on the local news to speak out against the state's plan to contract ostomy and incontinence supplies with one or just a few statewide suppliers.
"It's an attack on provider choice and it's an attack on product choice," said Anderson, owner of Anderson's Medical Products.
This is the second time this year that ostomy and incontinence items have come under fire. In March, the state said it planned to outsource the supplies to a Michigan-based supplier, creating a statewide uproar, in part because Indiana's governor has a "Buy Indiana" program aimed at supporting local business.
The legality of the process was also questioned because providers were not given the chance to bid for the products.
In late June, the state's Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) released a request for proposal for providers to submit bids for the entire state.
"They are asking small providers in the state to figure out how in the world we are going to supply everything for every person in the state," said Anderson. "There's no way any of us can do it successfully."
Anderson plans to submit a bid that he expects will be rejected "out of hand."
"Some of the required elements (for the contract), I'm just going to say 'no' to," said Anderson.
Particularly irksome for Anderson is a requirement that patients get an assessment from a licensed nurse, employed by the provider, every time they need to change products.
Anderson said he understands the state's desire to save money but doesn't think this is the way to go.
"If they wanted to save money, all they had to do was come to (the provider community)," he said.
The bidding deadline was Aug. 23.