IG: Adopt competitive bids to put Medicare in driver's seat

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                                                     IG: Adopt competitive bids to
                                                     put Medicare in driver’s seat
      » Medline Industries will acquire the
      business and assets of healthcare distribu-
      tor SunChoice Europe Limited from the
      Southern Cross Healthcare Group. Based
      in Warrington, England, SunChoice sup-         By John O’Connor                                                       report stated. “However, Con-
      plies incontinence, cleaning, janitorial,      Power-driven wheelchairs                                               gress delayed the program and
      laundry, infection control, medical con-       cost Medicare nearly four                                              exempted complex rehabilita-
      sumables, uniforms and patient handling        times what suppliers pay for                                           tion power wheelchairs from
      equipment. Financial terms of the deal         them, according to a recent                                            future competitive bidding.”
      were not disclosed.                            Inspector General’s report.                                               Medicare’s annual budget
                                                     The study recommends com-                                              for 2008 was about $444 bil-
      » AOD Software released a new ver-             petitive bidding as a way to                                           lion. In January, payments to
      sion of its long-term care software product.   drive down costs.                                                      suppliers were trimmed by
      AnswersElite v10 adds new features that           A standard power wheel-                                             9.5% to make up for what the
      make it easier for providers to navigate       chair costs Medicare about        Competitive bidding could help       government thought competi-
      financial and resident care challenges,         $4,018 to lease, compared         drive down costs for power-driven    tive bidding would have saved,
                                                                                       wheelchairs and other durable
      according to the firm.                          with $1,048 for suppliers         medical equipment, according to
                                                                                                                            according to the report.
                                                     to buy, the Department of         a report by the Inspector General.      Administration officials
      » Lancaster Pollard announced it will          Health and Human Services’                                             want to require competitive
      open its seventh office, in Los Angeles.        internal watchdog reported.       cost of a standard power wheel-      bids for items such as wheel-
      Veteran Banker Anthony Taddey will over-          The difference might have      chair by nearly $1,000, the          chairs. But groups such as
      see the latest expansion. The growth is part   been significantly less if Con-    Inspector General asserted.          the American Association for
      of an effort to increase underwriting and      gress had moved forward              “Medicare and beneficiary          Homecare counter that bids
      mortgage services for mid-sized healthcare     with previous plans to put a      payments under the Competi-          would reduce patient choice,
      facilities, according to the firm.              competitive bidding system        tive Bidding Acquisition Pro-        limit access to home medical
                                                     in place for wheelchairs and      gram would have decreased            care and drive up Medicare
      » Briggs Corporation recently                  other durable medical equip-      by an average of 26 percent          costs by requiring more hospi-
      unveiled a 5-Star Rating Improvement           ment, investigators claimed.      across all included categories       tal stays. The Power Mobility
      Center. The new center
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