More competitive bidding compromises patient access, device makers say

February 1, 2013 by MassDevice staff

Medical device industry lobby AdvaMed warns that expanded competitive bidding programs may prevent patients from access to their preferred medical devices.

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Medical device industry lobbying group AdvaMed spoke out against an expansion to Medicare's competitive bidding programs, warning that the changes may deprive patients of their preferred devices.

Some analysts have lauded the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid for efforts to bring down costs of healthcare supplies. CMS began piloting its expanded bidding program in 9 cities and plans to expand to 100 metro areas, according to the Washington Post.

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"We are very concerned that CMS has decided to proceed with a major expansion of the competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment without incorporating recommendations of leading economists and other stakeholders for improving the bidding process and ensuring patient access to the products they and their physicians prefer," AdvaMed president Stephen Ubl said in a prepared statement. "The competitive bidding program is built in such a way that the lowest bid – which may not be the right bid – may compromise patient access to products best suited for their needs."

AdvaMed has previously spoken out against Medicare's bidding program for diabetes test strips, raising concerns in a letter the group sent to Congress earlier this month.

Healthcare officials have projected that over a period of 9 years competitive bidding would save Medicare $25.7 billion, in addition to saving patients $17.1 billion.