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April 28th 2011

“We are looking to health care providers to improve the overall quality of care while cutting costs involved in delivering this care.” This is the message that our government continues to send the American people. Maybe someday, someone can explain to me how you significantly improve quality while significantly reducing costs. The two initiatives just don’t seem to fit but that’s exactly what our friends at the responsible agencies in Washington seem to be demanding.  One prime example of this type of thinking, and created by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services  (CMS), is a program recently started which introduces “competitive bidding” for Medicare Home Medical Equipment services. This program is already operational in nine metropolitan areas across the U S with ninety one more to be added in 2012. Current estimates indicate that once operational, this program will force approximately 80% of providers serving Medicare patients out of business nation-wide and take an estimated 100,000 jobs with them while leaving beneficiaries in a position where services and equipment become more and more difficult to obtain. This program might cut costs, but for the life of me I can’t see where there will be any increase in quality. As a matter of fact, quality service could become a thing of the past while restricting patient choice of providers and access to services. At this point we are hoping to see legislation currently in Congress that would repeal this fatally flawed program gain passage in the near future. However, to accomplish this it will require grassroots support from both providers and Medicare beneficiaries and constant communication with our elected officials in Washington. I’m hoping we can count on your help in the future.