Dear Ann Marie


This rainy Friday afternoon, I was mindlessly scanning the headlines and the letters to the editor on the website of our local paper. Imagine my surprise to see a letter from Ann Marie in Kennebunkport (ya know, where the Bush family vacations) questioning why the "GOP" would ever want to repeal the competitive bidding program (oh, don't providers wish the GOP felt this way). 

Ann Marie seems to have seen the same press release launched by the CMS PR machine as everyone else. She's confused because lawmakers have stated that the "flawed program would force smaller suppliers out of the market."

This would seem to make sense, Ann Marie writes, except more than 50% of the companies that won bid were small suppliers. 

Ann Marie has a point, but what Ann Marie, and others like her, and by others I mean pretty much everyone outside of othe industry, don't know is the true cost behind the program. They don't understand some of the drastic cuts those small providers have made to try and preserve some semblance of a profit margin. They don't hear about the contract suppliers who have since shut their doors.

It's really time for the industry to produce some real data on these numbers, rather than rely on broad anecdotes.

And Ann Marie, I don't know how old you are, but should you ever need oxygen or anything else included (eventually, it hasn't hit Maine yet) once competitive bidding chokes the HME landscape, you'd better hope there's providers around to help you out.

Theresa Flaherty