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Must Read: When Competitive Bidding Hurts Patients (NYT, Opinion)

May 23, 2012
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The New York Times recently published an opinion piece titled, “When Competitive Bidding Hurts Patients,” by Dr. Dennis Rosen, a pediatric pulmonologist and sleep specialist at Children’s Hospital Boston.  The article discusses how, “On the face of it, competitive bidding sounds like a very good idea.” Dr. Rosen goes on to detail the flaws of the current Medicare competitive bidding system, stating that, “as a doctor working with patients on the ground, I have doubts about that quality-of-care measure, and I worry that those savings obscure a potentially serious problem.” 

You can learn more about my efforts to reform medicare's current bidding system, by clicking here. Here and several key passages from Dr. Dennis Rosen's opinion piece:

From the New York Times:

When Competitive Bidding Hurts Patients 

By Dennis Rosen

May 15, 2012

“LAST month, the Obama administration announced that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would make much greater use of competitive bidding to buy medical equipment for Medicare patients…

“On the face of it, competitive bidding sounds like a very good idea…But as a doctor working with patients on the ground, I have doubts about that quality-of-care measure, and I worry that those savings obscure a potentially serious problem.

“I care for many children with obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that causes the throat to collapse during sleep, preventing air from getting into the lungs. It is associated with cognitive impairment, as well as hypertension and heart disease. Some of these children need to be treated with continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, a machine that blows air through a mask at a fixed pressure, which props the throat open and prevents the child from choking.

“Using CPAP, or any medical device, is complicated, and the machines work only if you know how to use them properly. If the CPAP mask doesn’t fit snugly, it can be uncomfortable and cause skin abrasion or even scarring. If moisture condenses in the tubing and splashes into the mask while the child is asleep, it can be very frightening and unpleasant. And there are many important adjustable features, for instance for the humidifier and the rate at which the air pressure increases. If used incorrectly, CPAP will not do what it is supposed to. The obstructive sleep apnea will remain untreated, and if a child’s blood oxygen levels drop too low, or if heart disease develops or worsens, the child could even land in the hospital…

“The same is true for other devices… This extra care takes time, and time costs money. But sicker patients and unnecessary hospital visits cost far more. And competitive bidding doesn’t take these subsequent costs into account…”

To read the full article, please click here.

To learn more about my efforts to reform medicare's current bidding system, click here

 
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