Posted on January 05, 2015
There is a program that the federal government is implementing, it’s called competitive bidding. This program impacts anyone who uses a mobility device, such as a wheelchair, Walker, etc. competitive bidding was conceived as a way to control costs for mobility devices. This program impacts new mobility devices and their repairs.
The governments interpretation of containing cost is to award contracts to those companies that submit the lowest bid. Which means if you sell the cheapest products, then the government will designate you as a contractor.Contractor’s are given exclusive sales to geographic areas, such as cities, and in some cases whole counties. Users of mobility devices that are on Medicare, Medi-Cal or other government programs are being directed to use only designated contractors.
The result of this program is now beginning to have dramatic impact on mobility users. We are being offered inferior products in order to contain cost. For example, many users who are eligible for new power chairs, that have been using Invacare or quickie, are now being told they are only eligible for inexpensive offbrand Chinese products. The result has been a reduction in cost for the government. So instead many users are deciding to stay with their old dependable wheelchairs and having those repaired when needed.
But, as part of the cost savings many, of the items that need repaired are being denied. Or, the reimbursement rates for these items have been changed. Making it more difficult for the non-contracted dealers to do repairs for their customers. In fact, many of the contractors have no provisions or refuse to do repairs. So now we the mobility users are facing a situation where we will be offered inferior products that will need more repairs (70% of these off brand products require repairs in the first year, but will have less chance of getting the repairs they need.
As time goes on this situation can only get worse.Unless, we the users take the steps to defend our mobility. The truth is our mobility and freedom are being determined by the government under the disguise of cost containment. As a mobility device user, you know our very safety and lifestyle is predicated on having dependable and trustworthy equipment. Cost is relevant, I agree, but so is our freedom. The only recourse we have, only, is to contact our local elected officials and asked them to support changes competitive bidding.
All prices are in USD.