PFQC’s Philadelphia Town Hall Teleconference

People For Quality Care BadgeLast week I mentioned that I had participated in a town hall teleconference call sponsored by People For Quality Care (PFQC).

Yesterday I saw on the PFQC’s Facebook page that HME News, the Business Newspaper for Home Medical Equipment Providers, published an article about that town hall. During the call, participants were invited to answer poll questions. One of those questions asked if they knew about competitive bidding. 100% of the people responding to the poll question did not know about it. Philadelphia is in the next round of areas to be added to competitive bidding. I think that it is really sad that people were not aware of what is going to happen.

You can read the full HME News article here, but I wanted to share part of what I stated during that teleconference:

Booth, who lives outside Pittsburgh, a Round 1 bid area, said she’s heard that beneficiaries in that area are having trouble getting quality test strips and are having to wait to receive supplies.

I know when I first read about competitive bidding in December, 2010, I had not heard about it. Several other Medicare beneficiaries on the message board that I first read about it did not know about it either. I also know from talking to people online, they were not aware that something had changed until they went to order supplies.

A lot of people seem to be under the impression that because they are not on Medicare, what is happening won’t affect them for years. Unfortunately, that is not true. Many insurance companies follow Medicare guidelines. Even besides insurance companies following Medicare guidelines, many legitimate supply companies now have to close because of not being able to fairly compete in this new market. If you are not able to get supplies because of a lack of suppliers, that will have a huge impact on you.

What is happening with this program is companies are bidding very low prices that no one else can compete with. These same companies are then dropping out of the program. Supply companies are asking for fair prices to be set by Medicare That is what most insurance companies do anyway. When I order test strips, the supply company I use for strips charges about $90 a box. My insurance company pays about $33 a box. Those same strips are sold on American Diabetes Wholesale for $34.99. I can’t say that $33 is a fair price because I am not working on someone’s financial statements to have access to that information, but setting a fair price is how things should work.
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