meterpen300x300Medicare created a competitive bidding program, at Congress’ instruction, to save cost on durable medical equipment. Diabetes testing supplies were included. Medicare tested the program in nine cities:

Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord (North Carolina and South Carolina)

Cincinnati-Middletown (Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana)

Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor (Ohio)

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington (Texas)

Kansas City (Missouri and Kansas)

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach (Florida)

Orlando (Florida)

Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania)

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario (California)

Medicare reported that the program saved money without adverse outcomes.

handup300x300actBut there may be things that Medicare’s report didn’t cover. A study of Medicare’s data done by the National Minority Quality Forum shows patient issues that Medicare did not deem reportable as adverse outcomes. These disruptions include higher hospitalizations and complications that cost Medicare more that the bidding program saved. More distressing the evidence shows higher mortality in the test markets.

DPAC believes that Congress should suspend the existing competitive bidding program immediately and investigate to ensure patient safety and make sure that the program to save does not indeed cost us all more. People with diabetes can help by calling on Congress to investigate.

Resource Links

Impact of CMS Competitive Bidding Program on Medicare Beneficiary Safety and Access to Diabetes Testing Supplies: A Retrospective, Longitudinal Analysis, March 18, 2016


(full text subscription required)

National Minority Quality Forum Full Report, November 13, 2015. http://www.nmqf.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/National-Minority-Quality-Forum-Report-on-CMS-Competitive-Bidding-Program.pdf

Press Release: Is Medicare Increasing Mortality Among Seniors?


American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE)
Letter to Senate Finance Committee December 14, 2015.

Endocrinology Advisor, June 18, 2015: CMS Competitive Bidding Hurts Medicare Beneficiaries With Diabetes

Press Release: Disruption in Access to Diabetes Monitoring Supplies Leads to Increased Hospitalizations, Mortality Among Medicare Beneficiaries


CMS Competitive Bidding Program Disrupted Access to Diabetes Supplies with Resultant Increased Mortality (Poster from the ADA 75th Scientific Sessions)

The Unintended Consequences of the Competitive Bidding Program (Late Breaking Data from the American Diabetes Association 75th Scientific Sessions)

AACE Poster

AACE Fact Sheet

Videos about Competitive Bidding

Medicare Beneficiaries and Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose

Impact of CMS Bidding on Medicare Beneficiaries

CMS Goals for Bidding