Mail order bids, test strip limits and the scary world of Medicare diabetes

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12/02/2010

Here's an interesting question: Are the providers who accepted winning bids for mail order diabetes ticked off with the proposal to limit the number of times a day Medicare beneficiaries can test? Cause, the bids were long past done, and probably many contracts were signed, before that little gem was floated.

It does appear that Congress might not like the idea of limiting testing, although whether it's out of concern for patients or the almighty doctor lobbies, remains to be seen. Sen. Pat Roberts on Nov. 18, criticized Medicare's "top-down mandates."

"Why is CMS replacing the judgment of a doctor on how many times their patients should  test their blood sugar with a CMS-knows-best approach?"

Rumour has it a Dear Colleague letter about this issue could soon land in the mail boxes of lawmakers.

In other diabetes news, my editor wondered whether the large mail order companies that were shut out of the bid—in other words, basically all of them—would try buying up the winners to keep their feet in the market.

"I wouldn't," said an industry insider. "But, I do hear that some of the winners are looking to sell. It happened last time, it's happening again this time."

Theresa Flaherty