With diabetes, it's all in the delivery

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06/29/2010

This headline was in my inbox this morning: "Got diabetes? Do these things or you may go blind." Well, thanks, that's helpful. I hadn't heard a million times already that I need to control my blood sugar and eat well.

I had planned to blog about the above-mentioned when actual diabetes DME industry news started rolling in today. CMS has been a busy little agency, if you read the Federal Register last Friday (you know you didn't).

CMS published a proposed reg, open for public comment, that would exempt community Rx from having to competitively bid diabetes supplies, as well as become accredited. As you may (or not) know, there are currently bills pending on both of these issues. It seems the Rx industry is making some headway getting its message across.

It also appears, and this one is painful, folks, that CMS has redefined "mail order" to include "any item shipped or delivered to the beneficiary's home regardless of the method of delivery." Translated: It sounds like Bob's Diabetes Store can't make drop offs from the company van anymore.

I don't know how many DMEs deliver diabetes supplies, either via shipping or from behind the wheel, but this seems unfair.

It removes an opportunity to compete on service.

It removes an opportunity to preserve margins if they pack and ship rather than pay a driver and gas up a van.

It removes convenience for customers, many of whom may be unable to drive (see above headline: re "go blind").

I would guess this creates a slippery slope as well. Today, it's diabetes supplies. Tomorrow, it's enterals, followed by CPAP tubing, urologicals and so on.

Theresa Flaherty