Texas HMEs battle huge Medicaid cuts

Saturday, August 31, 2002

AUSTIN — In trying to stave off a proposal for Medicaid competitive bidding, state providers have identified $6.7 million in savings that Texas could reap by eliminating waste and inappropriate use in its DME program. The question is: Are those savings enough, given the state wants to cut $18 million from its $92 million DME budget?

"In the final analysis, the industry is not going to be able to stop them from doing what they choose to do," said Ron Kieschnik of Houston-based Seating Profiles. "The financial strength of the provider network is not particularly healthy. If you cut the profit margins to a point below where they are, I think there is little question we will see providers closing their doors or quit participating in the program."

Kieschnik is part of Medical Equipment Suppliers Association (MESA) Coalition of Medicaid Providers, which identified the $6.7 million in savings. The state withdrew an RFP for competitive bidding July 5 in order to give providers more input into the process. As of mid August, the state had made no decision on how to cut DME reimbursement. HME