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Organizational Statements on Competitive Bidding Program
In The News
More Evidence That Medicare Competitive Bidding Causes Harm! (Healthline.com)
Frankly, we’re outraged about this, especially seeing CMS ridiculous clamoring about how successful this competitive bidding program is despite all the proof to the contrary.
The message is abundantly clear: CMS cares more about money than people’s health.
DPAC has created the Suspend Bidding Action Center (www.diabetespac.org/suspendbidding) for site visitors to learn more about the issue, and help them to email their lawmakers and tweet members of Congress using the hashtag #SuspendBidding.
“It is outrageous that CMS continues to ignore the data and the pleas of Medicare beneficiaries across the nation,” added the other co-founder, Bennet Dunlap. “It is past time for members of Congress to exercise their oversight responsibilities and suspend this program immediately.”
The next disruption will begin on July 1, 2016 while a new round of bidding has already taken place. The consequences of this are:
Existing suppliers may have lost the bids, so they will no longer offer supplies
New suppliers who won the bids may not carry your supplies
More disruptions and restrictions to access of diabetes testing supplies
More money wasted, more hospitalizations, more fatalities.
Medicare Competitive Bidding Program Under Fire (Medpage Today)
“Patients have received meters and strips different from those they used prior to the competitive bidding program’s implementation that did not have user instructions, which led to the inability to download or read data,” wrote Lando, an endocrinologist in Alexandria, Va. “Alarmingly, neither the patients nor their physicians neither approved nor were notified of these switches in advance. Furthermore, lower quality non-branded devices can provide inaccurate or inconsistent readings, which have led to patients experiencing adverse medical events, such as hypoglycemia.”
CMS was contacted for this story but declined to comment.
CMS has said clearly that it believes no beneficiaries have seen a change in health outcomes connected to competitive bidding. But forum President and CEO Gary A. Puckrin called for the program’s halt.
Medicare’s Competitive Bidding Program Drives Up Costs (California Broker Magazine – subsection of article:Greater Insurer Competition Leads to More Satisfied Consumers)
“We are particularly concerned about the disruption we detected in our analysis given the predominant use of rapid- and short-acting insulin by Medicare beneficiaries who are at significantly greater risk for hypoglycemia than younger individuals with insulin-treated diabetes.”
Early Look: Study Says Competitive Bidding Hurts Diabetes Patients (HomeCare Magazine)
This study, coming from highly-qualified researchers and subject to rigorous peer review, is especially timely given CMS’s recent release of the latest new pricing cuts noted above, which further reduce reimbursement rates for test strips and other diabetic supplies.
“This study, coming from highly-qualified researchers and subject to rigorous peer review, should serve as a wake-up call to policy makers who have dismissed reports the adverse effects of the bidding program on Medicare beneficiaries,” Ryan concluded. “We need action today that will make sure the bidding program doesn’t cause more harm to the millions of seniors and individuals with disabilities or chronic conditions who rely on home medical equipment.”
Medicare looks to expand diabetes model after YMCS pilot saves millions, HHS says (Healthcare Finance News)
“The diabetes community is thrilled that HHS is focusing on diabetes and, specifically, on diabetes prevention in an effort to save lives and save money for the program. However, it is extremely ironic that while Medicare is working to prevent diabetes, CMS stubbornly pursues its Competitive Bidding Program for diabetes testing supplies, a program that has been shown to increase hospitalizations and mortality among Medicare beneficiaries already facing diabetes.”
Nearly 1,000 beneficiaries in the nine CBAs were admitted to the hospital at a cost of $10.7 million compared to 460 beneficiaries in non-test markets at a cost of $4.7 million in the propensity score matched analysis.
The study found that SMBG supply acquisition was disrupted in the TEST population, leading to increased migration to partial/no SMBG acquisition with associated increases in mortality, inpatient admissions, and costs.
“We are troubled that CMS failed to detect these “unintended” consequences and, instead, reported that the pilot program was a success.”
Peer-reviewed journal article shows how disruption in access to diabetes testing supplies led to increased mortality and hospitalizations, higher costs for Medicare beneficiaries.
Medicare competitive bidding system led to increased mortality, hospitalization for diabetes (Healio/Endocrine Today)
In a separate report, the Government Accountability Office stated that the monitoring methods used by CMS in assessing the effect of the program did not directly demonstrate whether beneficiaries received their durable medical equipment on time, or whether health outcomes were precipitated by problems accessing their equipment.
“We speculate that the CBP test program created confusion among the millions of Medicare beneficiaries who live with diabetes about how to access reliable test strips, which translated into adverse health outcomes that are of considerable concern,” David Marrero, PhD, immediate past president of health care and education for the American Diabetes Association and director of the Diabetes Translational Research Center, told Endocrine Today. “The increase in these negative health outcomes questions whether the effort to reduce the cost of strips really achieved the intended goal for Medicare.”
Medicare Cost-Cutting on Diabetes Test Strips Puts Lives at Risk, Study Finds (American Journal of Managed Care)
Marrero said CMS’ analysis failed to pick up on the pilot program’s flaws because it wasn’t designed to find them—so the agency declared success and moved ahead with a nationwide bidding program. He doesn’t feel this was done on purpose, but he said steps must be taken to correct the program.
“When the government decides to do an experiment that could have potentially serious effects, they need to have a structure that monitors the experiment and looks for negative outcomes,” Marrero said. “They just didn’t do that in this case.”
Study finds CMS competitive bidding program restricts access to diabetes testing supplies (FierceMedical Devices)
The government watchdog said “anecdotal reports show that competitive bidding has led to reduced access to DME (durable medical equipment) and, in turn, compromised the quality of care beneficiaries receive.”
SMBG supply acquisition was disrupted in the TEST population, leading to increased migration to partial/no SMBG acquisition with associated increases in mortality, inpatient admissions, and costs. Based on our findings, more effective monitoring protocols are needed to protect beneficiary safety.
Getting Off the Harm Merrygoround (Your Diabetes May Vary)
Meanwhile, Medicare says the program is great, no harm, no foul, and they don’t hear any complaints. Oh yeah, and they are going to put beneficiaries through a new round of disruption starting in July.Let’s NOT do that.
Competitive bidding is devastating rural America (Dear Medicare)
One case that was shared with me is a patient who was using cheap diabetic strips to do their testing and ended up going into a diabetic coma due to the strips were not producing the correct blood glucose levels. This is a direct result of suppliers having to look at alternative vendors/products.
NMQF Report Critical of Medicare Competitive Bidding Program for Diabetes Supplies (American Association of Diabetes Educators)
The 2011 survey found that the contract suppliers, on average, offered only 38 percent of the products that are listed on www.medicare.gov. In some cases, suppliers offered products that were not listed on www.medicare.gov.
CMS is under no statutory obligation to report the health impact of the CBP, but it is monitoring the program for harm to beneficiaries. CMS regularly issues assurances to the public and to Congress that the CBP has not disrupted access and has not resulted in negative healthcare consequences, but its monitoring has been inadequate to support those assurances. The inadequacies include flawed methodology, lack of transparency and failure to measure health risk.
CBP + Diabetes = Disaster (ThePerfectD)
It’s not safe and it’s not cost-effective and it’s killing people with diabetes, sending them to the hospital more than ever before, and costing the U.S. healthcare system (and patients) more money.
In fact, of nine brands identified in a December 2010 report as the top mail order diabetes testing supply brands by percent of market share, contract suppliers offered an average of only 1.44 brands (16 percent).