Many of us look back on the past and recall with warm fuzzies the “good ole’ days”. The streets were filled with children playing and delicious smells of homemade meals fragranced the air from neighboring kitchen windows. However, when it comes to medical care, aren’t we glad to have the medical advancements over the last 50 years! Without medical research and development, we would have still thought that cigarettes aren’t harmful, that women can drink alcohol while pregnant, and that the only way to correct vision problems is with glasses (sorry contacts and Lasik, you weren’t discovered yet).
So maybe we want the best of both worlds. We want the sense of community and family from decades past with the cutting edge technology to improve our quality of life and enable us to live a fuller life, longer. We want to make our own decisions, armed with the latest information and innovative options. We look for technology that will enable us to remain in our homes, independent, and with our families. As discoveries are made, technology changes, and health care options evolve, aren’t we glad that we’re able to make our health care decisions taking this into account?
Unfortunately for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries throughout the country, the federal government has developed a program that stifles home medical equipment innovation at an economic loss of $50 billion dollars according to a study by the Pacific Research Institute. This is not what our weak economy needs, and even worse–this is counterintuitive to the needs of our nation’s elderly and disabled. The study further adds to the complications of this federal program, forewarning of “shortages of critical medical equipment — and future patients will be deprived of the next generation of cutting-edge healthcare tools” as reported in Forbes Magazine.
What is this terrible federal program that will cause such economic, health, and technological development harm?
For the past several months, Homecare Advocate has been updating you on the developments of this anti-competitive auction program, dubiously titled “Competitive Bidding”. It has alarmed leading economists from around the world, as CMS’ unconventional rules “undermine the market forces that make typical auctions effective-and economically efficient” Forbes reports. Numerous other independent studies point to the same results: a disastrous program that fails beneficiaries, disincentivizes manufacturers to invest in research and development, and results in increased preventable hospital and facility admissions. It isn’t just your choice in new technology that is cut–it’s also your choice in who provides your care. With this program, up to 90% of the established home medical equipment companies you’ve grown to rely on in your community will be eliminated from this program, forcing most to close their doors for good.
So what can you do?
Don’t stay in the Dark Ages. Learn about this program and how it will affect you. Ask your home medical equipment provider for more information if you’d like, or you can learn more online here and here. Contact your elected federal representative and let him or her know that you are one of their constituents and are concerned about how the Competitive Bidding for DMEPOS program will detrimentally affect you. Ask that instead of this ill-conceived program, your representative support the “Market Pricing Program for Home Medical Equipment” instead. This program, also called “MPP”, will enable Congress to find real savings for health care while stimulating technological advancements and preserving your provider choices. Call the Congress switchboard to be connected to your representative at 202-224-3121.
We desperately need health care innovation if we are to care for our nation’s growing senior population. By 2030, 1 in every 5 Americans will be 65 and older. We cannot afford to rely on 2011 technology 15 years from now. The technology of today will not be sufficient for tomorrow, and the consequence for ignoring that could be greater than we could ever expect. Sure, we want efficient government spending, but no amount of money will buy results if you cut out the benefit of quality care and improved delivery mechanisms. There is more to health care than a price tag. We cannot afford to cut out the value of the services that make us healthy, independent, and connected to the world around us.