IV providers bid

Thursday, November 30, 2006

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania infusion providers had until Nov. 9 to submit bids to provide home infusion services to Medicaid patients.
Their biggest concern: The state plans to select two providers to serve patients in 42 of the Pennsylvania's 67 counties where about 97% of the state's Medicaid population lives.
Covering such a large area poses a burden that could prevent smaller providers from bidding because they most likely lack the resources to service such a large area, said one industry watcher.
The two contract winners can subcontract with other providers to meet patient needs, but that can get complicated, said Helen Michener, general manager of Harrisburg-based Critical Care Systems. A patient needing antibiotics, chemotherapy drugs and nursing services could find themselves dealing with three different companies, she said.
"It's not the ideal situation for continuity of care," said Michener.
Additionally, many patients have time-sensitive needs that could be affected by the proposed system, said Michener.
"Just knowing how we manage chemo patients locally, sometimes there's a short (period of time) to get the patient hooked up," she said.
To bid, companies had to be accredited and have a 24/7 call center staffed by employees who meet certain requirements. The industry standard is an on-call arrangement, often consisting of an answering service and pager system. hme