Two lawsuits filed this week seek to block the CMS from going forward with a Medicare demonstration program employing competitive bidding for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies, which is scheduled to begin in 10 metropolitan areas July 1.
The American Association for Homecare, in a complaint filed on behalf of its members June 9 in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., argues that the CMS failed to specify the financial standards that were grounds for eliminating providers in the first round of bidding, and that the agency arbitrarily downsized its definition of a small provider, a status that confers special treatment under the program.
A similar lawsuit was filed today in U.S. District Court in Dallas on behalf of five providers and two consumers. The lawyer handling the case, Jeffrey Baird, filed a previous lawsuit in the same court that was dismissed because the judge concluded it was too early to argue that anyone was harmed. With winners and losers announced in May for the first round of bidding, Baird said, Its an absolute mess.
A third lawsuit is in progress in U.S. District Court in Cleveland and also seeks a preliminary injunction to hold off the program.
Meanwhile, a June 10 letter signed by 40 senators asks Senate leaders to support legislation that would delay it. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) announced today that he would be adding language to his Medicare reform bill to delay implementation of the demonstration program. An alternative bill from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the finance panels ranking member, contains a similar provision to delay the program by 18 months. -- by Gregg Blesch