Philadelphia Town Hall Call Discusses Competitive Bidding Program With Beneficiaries
A town hall teleconference call to learn how Medicare’s competitive bidding program can affect access to quality home medical equipment and timely services was attended by thousands of concerned seniors and caregivers in Philadelphia. The call gathered together consumers and health care professionals to discuss the consequences of Medicare’s program that exclude suppliers of medical equipment from providing service to beneficiaries. It was hosted by non-profit group Last Chance for Patient Choice in conjunction with People for Quality Care (PFQC), and the Pennsylvania Association of Medical Suppliers. Of the 6,600 residents who answered the call, 100 percent did not know about the upcoming changes in Medicare in the Philadelphia region. Ninety-five percent of the participants said that the government should not be allowed to choose their provider for them, and that they choose to stay in their own homes when they age.
Panelists of the call that included Ann Eubank of Users First and Kelly Turner of People Quality Care, discussed various issues about competitive bidding such as its impact on wheelchair users, and how hard it’s going to be for beneficiaries whose new providers are located in states far away from their homes.
National Sleep Therapy’s Petition Aims for Deeper Change
A petition launched by National Sleep Therapy (NST) on change.org to stop competitive bidding has picked up about 8,000 signatures in two weeks. It was aimed to get beneficiaries and caregivers to speak up about the dreaded program.
According to Peter Falkson, CEO and cofounder of NST, real change needs to happen at the patient/voter/constituent level. Thus, it is important to involve the people that actually get the care and benefit from it. However, providers believe that beneficiaries have not been voicing out their concerns about the program. In fact, only a few complaints from beneficiaries were received by CMS, a sign that the program is working, the agency said.
Falkson gave credit to his 10-year-old daughter who introduced change.org to him. He also credits NEMED with their help to re-tool the petition to give it a broader message. Besides reaching beneficiaries directly, it hopes for other HME providers to ask their own patients to sign the petition and pass it along.
Credibility Gap Between Doctors and Patients Revealed
According to a survey published by Health Affairs, doctors often understate the seriousness of illnesses, and many will not fully disclose information to patients. The survey, which was conducted in 2009 and included 1,891 practicing doctors across the U.S., indicated that doctors sometimes provided patients with an overly optimistic view of possible outcomes for illnesses.
In addition, about one-third of respondents believe that disclosing serious medical errors to patients was not necessary, and one-fifth said that in some cases it was OK to tell a patient something that was not true. However, most physicians agreed that patients should be fully informed about the risks and benefits of treatments and they should not disclose confidential information improperly.
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