Providers fail to derail supplies contracts

Friday, February 29, 2008

INDIANAPOLIS - Despite an 11th hour effort in December to convince state officials to hold off on implementing its new Medicaid contracts for incontinence supplies, providers here conceded the program was most likely a "done deal."
Still, the industry created some noise, said George Kucka, executive director of the Association of Indiana Home Medical Equipment Services (AIHMES).
"We've got some support going forward to put together some legislation to prevent this from happening with other categories," he said.
Indiana first announced plans to competitively bid incontinence supplies last summer, after originally awarding the contract to a single out-of-state supplier without offering local providers an opportunity to bid.
AIHMES responded by rallying providers to speak up, and hired a lobbyist and an attorney to protest the contract and the state's handling of the bidding process.
In November, the state awarded the contracts to Binson's Hospital Supplies and J&B Medical Supply--both based n Michigan--and Healthcare Products Delivery in Indiana.
"One of the providers that won wants us to endorse them," said Kucka. "I am not sure how we can do that."
The state planned to send letters to beneficiaries beginning Feb. 1 and asked providers to help with the transition process. As of May 1, only the three contracted suppliers will be able to bill Medicaid for the products.
The association planned to encourage providers to ask beneficiaries to monitor the quality of the program.