MESA: Don’t swap one ‘evil’ for another

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

CASSELBERRY, Fla. – Although the HME industry has pushed its market-pricing program (MPP) as a replacement for competitive bidding long and hard, not everybody is on board.

In June, the board of directors of the Medical Equipment Suppliers Association (MESA), which represents 225 HME companies in five states, decided the association could not support replacing one auction with another auction.

“It may be the lesser of two evils, but it’s still an evil,” said Cory Baker, general manger/compliance officer for Choice Medical Supply in Abilene, Texas, and president of MESA.

There’s currently a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 1717, that would replace the competitive bidding program with MPP. It currently has 132 co-sponsors.

MESA believes health care should never be auctioned off to the lowest bidder, says Liz Moran, executive director.

“We don’t want MESA tainted as a problem child, but what we see as a problem is that the solution that’s being offered isn’t the solution,” she said.

MESA is also concerned with the potential unforeseen consequences of MPP, which was designed by economists, not healthcare professionals, Baker says.

“It’s not designed by any experts in our industry,” he said. “I think there might be some issues we don’t know about. If it passes, we can’t go, ‘Oh wait, we didn’t realize this regulation was in there or this regulation was not.’”

So what is the solution? MESA had an open forum at its most recent conference to toss around ideas for an alternative to MPP.

“We aren’t saying we’ve got the answer,” said Moran. “We are just saying that a better answer has to be found.”