Reps. Thompson, Braley Criticize CMS Administrator for Failing to Address Abuses and Failures of Durable Medical Equipment Procurement Program

Jun 19, 2013 Issues: Healthcare

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Representatives Glenn `GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and Bruce Braley (D-IA) today criticized Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner for failing to address the failures and abuses that have occurred under Round 2 of the controversial Competitive Bidding Program for Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Medical Supplies (DMEPOS).  The members have introduced legislation -- H.R. 2375, the Transparency and Accountability in Medicare Bidding Act -- that would force the CMS Administrator to delay moving forward with implementation until the flaws identified with the program have been addressed and fixed. 

“Last week, a bipartisan majority in the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to Administrator Tavenner documenting specific failures and abuses that took place under Round 2 of competitive bidding for DMEPOS,” stated Thompson. “Since that time, the CMS Administrator responded to members of the Tennessee delegation who sent a letter to the agency outlining a similar set of concerns. The Administrator’s response was evasive, incomplete, and failed to answer these serious questions. If this response is any indication of what the Administrator believes to be an adequate response, we have a problem.”

“CMS has broken its own rules and the Administrator has neither addressed how these abuses occurred nor what corrective actions the agency will take,” Thompson added. “Unfortunately these failures are not limited to Tennessee, rather they illustrate widespread systemic flaws that have plagued the program.  If the Administrator is incapable of rectifying this situation before July 1, alternative actions must be considered.”

“The Medicare bidding system the Obama administration is seeking to impose on medical equipment providers is deeply flawed, endangering small businesses and local jobs,” Braley said. “Worse, imposing regional monopolies reduces choices for Medicare beneficiaries and threatens to replace local providers who know patients and their unique needs with faraway corporations. The free market should be allowed to work within Medicare, and that’s why we’ve introduced this bipartisan bill.”

Last week, Thompson and Braley initiated a letter signed by 227 Members of Congress, including 82 Democrats and 145 Republicans, which outlined critical flaws and abuses in the program and requested that the CMS delay further implementation until such issues are fully address and fixed.