There's been no shortage of media attention on the home medical equipment industry this week, between the Senate's efforts to delay national competitive bidding and a Senate committee's efforts to publicize a new report on Medicare fraud.
Competitive bidding: The industry prevails
Despite a critical opinion piece penned by Michael Leavitt, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, in The Wall Street Journalâ€”and pieces by USA Today and The New York Times before that (see previous blogs)â€”the Senate yesterday voted to pass a Medicare bill that delays competitive bidding for 18 to 24 months. Nine Republicans changed their votes to make it happen (Thank them sooner rather than later). The bill's in the president's hands now, and word on the street is that he'll veto it, sending it back to the Senate and House. Industry sources say there are "plenty of votes" in the House and Senate to override him. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., backed those claims up, telling the capital beltway publication The Hill, "Let the president veto it. Weâ€™ll override it."
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A new report from the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee's permanent subcommittee on investigations charges home medical equipment providers with using the ID numbers of dead doctors to bill Medicare for up to $92 million worth of equipment since 2000. Here's one of many newspaper stories
on the report. Here's AAHomecare's response.