Mail order diabetes providers urge Congress to evaluate bidding impact

Monday, September 13, 2010

WASHINGTON - Mail order diabetes providers met with lawmakers today to express their concerns with Medicare's competitive bidding program.

Members of the Quality Diabetes Care Coalition (QDCC), which includes national providers like Liberty, CCS Medical and Simplex, say Congress needs to evaluate the program before it creates a national mail order program for diabetes testing supplies.

"National expansion of this experiment is an urgent concern for the 1.2 million Medicare patients living with diabetes that we serve," stated Michael Iskra, a founding member of QDCC, in a release. "We believe in fair competition, but are seriously troubled by the implementation of this program and fear it will compromise patient care and unjustifiably treats providers unfairly."

In the Round 1 rebid, reimbursement for diabetes supplies took a hit of 56%, on average--far lower than the average 32% cut overall. The coalition fears that, at those prices, winning suppliers--who have not yet been named-will not be able to provide patient support and quality products.

The coalition also questioned the fairness of excluding chain pharmacies from competitively bidding for the supplies. In Orlando, for example, Medicare will pay $38.79 for a box of test strips, compared to $14.50 for the same product delivered through mail order, says the release.