Oxygen suppliers blast competitive bidding

April 16, 2007

The Council for Quality Respiratory Care (CQRC), a coalition of the 11 leading home oxygen therapy providers and manufacturers, has expressed concern regarding CMS' final rule on competitive bidding.

The Council for Quality Respiratory Care (CQRC), a coalition of the 11 leading home oxygen therapy providers and manufacturers, has expressed concern regarding CMS' final rule on competitive bidding. The rule establishes requirements for accreditation of durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies (DMEPOS) suppliers and lays the ground work for implementation of the Medicare DMEPOS Bidding Program. This new program includes oxygen equipment and supplies, respiratory assist devices, and continuous positive airway press devices and accessories, as well as sleep apnea services, supplies, and equipment. CQRC claims that the competitive bidding process could jeopardize the level of quality of care for services the patients would normally receive, thereby destabilizing the benefit and providers alike. The council stated, "The new bidding process is based solely on price, thereby excluding therapy-related services and patient-support services essential to the delivery of quality care. The winning bid will simply result in the 'lowest common denominator' and not take into account these critical services. In addition, it discourages the use of higher-priced innovative technologies that government and health officials have supported in separate rule-making."

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