OIG is finally responding to the HME industry’s July request. The Office of Inspector General says they will study Medicare beneficiaries’ access to durable medical equipment. You may recall that in July 2014 Congressman Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Congressman Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) co-sponsored a letter to Inspector General Daniel Levinson asking for a study of competitive bidding’s impact on senior health.
Thanks to your requests and messages to Congress, the letter received over 130 co-signers!
In October, Mike Goodman, Congressman Braley’s health legislative aide, reported receiving a response from Chris Hinkle, OIG’s Director of Congressional Affairs. In this letter Mr. Hinkle stated, “They see that one of the big drivers is ‘beneficiary access.’ Where the provider is licensed. Do they have the items in stock? What problems are the beneficiaries having?”
Hinkle also added, “OIG is hoping to ‘crack the nut’ of beneficiary access. They will start with a review to determine the effects of beneficiary access of the program for DME.”
What does this mean to the HME industry? The OIG will investigate the competitive bidding program. Our hope is they will see the lack of beneficiary access to DME. After the investigation is completed, the results will be sent to Congress where decision about future of competitive bidding will be made. We as an industry understand the devastating outcomes the current competitive bidding program could bring. Our hope is the OIG investigation will find these results as well.
We need to acknowledge the hard work that GAMES and MAMES put into assembling our champions, Rep. Tom Price and Rep. Bruce Braley. This couldn’t have happened without the relationship building undertaken by these state associations, their leaders and members. We’d also like to thank all who sent letters and made phone calls to get their members of Congress to sign on to the letter.