National competitive bidding continues to steal headlines this week. Some of the latest news:
CMS Acting Administrator Kerry Weems on April 1 responded to Rep. Jason Altmireâ€™s â€œdear colleagueâ€ letter. I doubt Weemsâ€™ letter
will satisfy Altmire and his 122 colleagues. Weems continues to stick very close to the party line. For example: â€œI am pleased to report that small providers make up a significant number (64 percent) of the suppliers being offered contracts under Round 1 of the program. This is more than double the target goal for small supplier participation in the program.â€
AAHomecare on March 31 detailed plans to examine the supplier selection process for Round 1. It has retained Sidley Austin, a Washington, D.C., law firm, to review the cases of 150 providers who say they have been unfairly and incorrectly shut out of the program.
I know itâ€™s hard to think about anything else besides competitive bidding, but I thought this story The Affair of the Necklace video published in yesterdayâ€™s New York Times was interesting. Itâ€™s about a portable device that delivers electrical shocks meant to revive victims of sudden heart seizures (think defibrillators). Theyâ€™re commonly used by ambulance crews, but recently, manufacturers like Philips Medical have been marketing them to â€œhealth-conscious consumers as the latest safety feature for their homes.â€ Sounds like a good lead for HME providers seeking to add another cash item to their shelves, right? Not so fast. A study has found that patients in homes equipped with the devices died at the same rate as those without it.