Impact of Competitive Bidding on Accessing Test Strips and Diabetes Supplies - Teststripz
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Impact of Competitive Bidding on Accessing Test Strips and Diabetes Supplies

Imagine if the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented a new program aimed at sparking some competition among heart surgeons. Past Medicare reimbursements for heart surgery would be done away with, and a new system would be created to help lower Medicare costs.

All heart surgeons were asked to submit bids on the cost of performing heart surgery. They were informed that the lowest 10% of bidders would be given a Contract to perform surgery on Medicare patients. The reimbursement rate would be the Median of those lowest 10% of bids.

As for the other 90% of surgeons (probably the best in the field), they were left without contracts and prevented from treating Medicare patients. For a while, Medicare recipients would be able to afford heart surgery… but the chances of surviving would decrease substantially.

No such policy actually exists for heart surgeons… it’s a terrible idea. But medical suppliers are subject to the Competitive Bidding Program for Durable Medical Equipment, including test strips and other diabetic supplies. Another terrible idea, but this one was implemented.

Competitive Bidding - Get Ready

Those who created the CBP purposely mislead Americans about how it would impact the healthcare system. Either that, or they were on crack. Either way, they were reckless and disregarded all advice from the experts.

Towards the beginning of 2014, I created a flowchart that outlined the CBP and how it would completely decimate the market for diabetic testing supplies (DTS). Using logic and common sense, I came to a number of conclusions about the impact on people living with diabetes in America.

Short response. Not good. Click here to see the original flowchart, which includes the consequences that patients will face.

Months later, the actual impacts are being felt throughout the country. A recent article from HME News, Providers Mull Mail Order Bids, describes the impact that Competitive Bidding was having on DME suppliers (both contracted and those without contracts).

This is critical for every American living with diabetes, particularly those on Medicare. Suppliers can’t provide test strips at such low reimbursement rates. Since Medicare constitutes a huge portion of business for most suppliers, many will just close their doors.

I don’t like to boast, but if you refer to the updated flowchart below, you’ll see that my conclusions were dead on. Granted, a basic understanding of economics was the only thing needed to deduce that the CBP would wreak havoc on the market.

I’ve revised the original flowchart, and added comments and quotes taken directly from the HME News story.

Impacts of Competitive Bidding Program Flowchart - Stage 2  - New Page

The bottom line… this program is beyond flawed and it needs to be reassessed and preferably, eliminated. It’s purposefully designed to create shortages in the market. But the politicians argue that ‘difficult cuts must be made to Medicare. Spending must be reduced.’

Really? Then why the hell are we diverting billions from Medicare to help implement Obamacare? Here’s an idea (cover the kids eyes)… Stop spending our fucking taxes on superfluous programs.

*Thanks to Bob for providing the HME story (Link below): http://www.hmenews.com/article/providers-mull-mail-order-bid

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