Physical therapists in 91 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) need to know which suppliers of durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) have been selected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under its competitive bidding program. As of July 1, these are the only suppliers from which Medicare beneficiaries in these MSAs may obtain certain DMEPOS items, such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, walkers, and oxygen.
The Medicare.gov website provides a supplier directory under the "Resource Locator" tab for finding a Medicare contract supplier in your region. A Medlearn Matters article (SE1244) and a Fact Sheet from CMS provide more information on this program for physical therapists, physicians, and other providers.
Under the competitive bidding program, DMEPOS suppliers compete to become Medicare contract suppliers. CMS awards contracts to the suppliers that offer the best prices and meet applicable quality and financial standards. As a result, some DMEPOS suppliers from which your patients have obtained items from in the past may no longer provide these items to Medicare beneficiaries.
Providers, DMEPOS suppliers, and consumer groups are concerned that the increased emphasis on price competition under this program could produce unsustainably low prices, limit the number of DMEPOS suppliers in the program, and, as a result, reduce beneficiary access to high-quality, brand name, and customizable equipment, and other effective supplies.
If you experience problems accessing DMEPOS items for your patients, we encourage you to contact APTA by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, the People for Quality of Care and the American Association for Homecare have set up a hotline at 800/404-8702 for patients and providers to report problems with access to DMEPOS items as a result of this program. The information provided on the hotline will be aggregated and presented to CMS and Congress with the beneficiaries' permission.
Congress has introduced 2 bills regarding this program: legislation to stop the program altogether and replace it with a market pricing program (HR 1717); and legislation to delay the program for 6 months until various problems can be fixed (HR 2375).
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