A bill that would delay implementation of Medicares controversial durable medical equipment, or DME, competitive-bidding demonstration program for 18 months was introduced in the U.S. House.
The legislation, which was sponsored by House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pete Stark (D-Calif.) and ranking member Dave Camp (R-Mich.), requires the CMS to make improvements in the bidding and supplier-selection process so that small suppliers and Medicare beneficiaries are not negatively impacted, according to a news release. This bill provides us with the time to get the program right and ensure we are reducing costs while protecting beneficiaries in the long run, Camp said in a written statement.
Bill sponsors included a 9.5% reduction on Medicare reimbursement rates to DME suppliers in order to offset the savings lossestimated at $3.1 billion over five yearsthat will result from delaying the bill. As I told the industry from the start, this is no free lunch, said Stark in a written statement. This bill requires the DME industry to finance the cost of delaying the program.
Under the current plan, new payment rules that provide reimbursement only to CMS contract winners are set to take effect July 1 in 10 regions. The program is set to expand to 70 additional areas in 2009. -- by Shawn Rhea
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