Still scratching my head


Against all odds, I found myself temporarily sucked in today by the video of last week's hearing on Medicare and DMEPOS, led by Sen. Claire McCaskill. Now I see what one industry insider, who attended the hearing meant, when I inquired how it went: "Sen. McCaskill is totally uninformed."

Now, to be fair, I didn't watch most of the hearing, just a snippet. While I understand (and support) McCaskill's concerns around shady marketing tactics, the snippet I saw showed a lawmaker getting caught in the weeds in my opinion. In referring to a company called Med-Care, she honed in the fact that, on the phone, it might sound like "Medicare." OK. I guess I can see that, now that she's pointed it out. Did the company do that to be deliberately confusing? I don't know, but neither does she.

She certainly talked about it a lot, though, going so far as to press CMS' Peter Budetti on why they would let a company name themselves as such. I gotta give Budetti credit for answering with a straight face when he told her he didn't think CMS has the authority to dictate what folks call themselves.

McCaskill then went on to question why physicians aren't supplying HME (this whole discussion cued off a beneficiary's letter about CPAP supplies)? I think she thought that would be better than the guy in the middle who stands to make all the money. (That would be YOU, the HME provider she was referring to).

I mean, is she suggesting scrapping the whole HME system? And what about drugstores? And labs? Should doctors do all of this?

I am still scratching my head.

Theresa Flaherty