NASL Article Details

Press Release

Congressman Thompson Briefs NASL Members on Capitol Hill

NASL, 6/10/2013

NASL issued a press release on June 4, 2013, in anticipation of the June 5 fly-in where participants heard
directly from Representative G.T. Thompson (R-PA) about the bipartisan efforts he is leading in the House
of Representatives that would delay implemenation of Medicare's DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program.


Congressman Thompson Will Brief NASL Members on Capitol Hill
Asks NASL To “Weigh In” on Bipartisan Effort Seeking Delay of Medicare
DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program Implementation

Washington, DC – Members of the National Association for the Support of Long Term Care (NASL) will hear
directly from Representative Glenn “G.T.” Thompson (R-PA) when the group makes visits to Capitol Hill on
Wednesday, June 5. Congressman Thompson will discuss his efforts, and those of Representative Bruce Braley
(D-IA), in garnering signatures on a letter that calls on CMS Administrator Tavenner to delay implementation of
the widely criticized Medicare Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics & Supplies (DMEPOS)
Competitive Bidding Program. The “Dear Colleague” letter led by Thompson and Braley asks CMS to hold
off on its July 1st start date, when DMEPOS rates are expected to be cut by an average of 45 percent and
impact patient care.

Earlier this year, Representative Tom Price, MD (R-GA) introduced the Medicare DMEPOS Market Pricing
Program Act of 2013 (H.R. 1717), which would replace the current Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding
Program put in place by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

“The failed competitive bidding scheme is anything but competitive and will only create access problems for
beneficiaries, while putting small businesses and local employers at risk. We ask that NASL weigh in with their
respective members of Congress to demand accountability and transparency from CMS prior to moving forward,
by signing the Thompson/Braley letter,” remarked Representative Thompson.

“NASL applauds the leadership of Representatives G.T. Thompson, Bruce Braley, and Tom Price for taking
on such a complex issue,” remarked NASL Executive Vice President Cynthia Morton. “NASL continues to
voice serious concerns about the process that CMS used in evaluating the ability of those with winning bids
to deliver quality care along with the devastating impact deep payment cuts could have on both the
companies supplying these products and the patients who rely on them,” Morton said.

NASL Medical Products Committee Chair David Lefkowitz explained, “Cutting DMEPOS rates by approximately
45 percent of Medicare’s current fee schedule amounts far exceeds what was expected of Round Two of CMS’
contested Competitive Bidding Program.”

“Providing enteral nutrition involves more than just selecting a product listed on the Medicare fee schedule and
delivering it to a provider,” continued Lefkowitz, who is the director of customer relations for the New York-
based Stonebridge Medical. “Supplying enteral nutrition for nursing facility residents, for example, requires the
supplier to be able to track various formulas and to interact with a facility’s clinical staff to ensure that patients
receive the proper enteral formulas ordered by their physicians. Changes in a patient’s condition may mean his
or her physician will order a different formula – and enteral nutrition suppliers must be able to respond to such
changes.”“It appears that the government’s zeal for cost savings may have obscured its view of what is actually
required to provide quality care,” Lefkowitz commented. “This is not surprising when one considers the current
competitive bidding system, by definition, requires one-half of the winning bidders to accept payment amounts
that are less than their bids.” 

NASL remains committed to working with Congress to address problems with the current competitive bidding
program and to develop a payment system that accurately reflects the true market for the provision of
DMEPOS products and services Medicare beneficiaries need.