New Medicare program requires equipment purchases only through contracted suppliers

February 15, 2011

Medicare beneficiaries, effective January 1, 2011, in Ohio living in the Cincinnati-Middletown and Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor areas who purchase medical equipment or supplies are now required to use suppliers through a new Medicare program. The product categories included in the program are:

  1. Oxygen, oxygen equipment, and supplies;
  2. Standard power wheelchairs, scooters, and related accessories;
  3. Complex rehabilitative power wheelchairs and related accessories;
  4. Mail-order diabetic supplies;
  5. Enteral nutrients, equipment, and supplies;
  6. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices and Respiratory Assist Devices (RADs) and related supplies and accessories;
  7. Hospital beds and related accessories;
  8. Walkers and related accessories; and
  9. Support surfaces.

According to a fact sheet from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (PDF file), if you rent oxygen or certain other items such as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines or hospital beds, you may be able to continue renting these items from your current supplier if they are participating in the program as a "grandfathered" supplier. If you don't use a Medicare contract supplier or a grandfathered supplier, Medicare won't pay for the item and you are responsible for the bill.

The program will be expanded to a second round of cities, including Toledo, Dayton, Akron, Columbus, Youngtown, and southern Ohio.

Advocates express concern about the program

While the first round of this program is moving forward, some advocates have expressed a concern that this new program may cause many local durable medical equipment providers to go out of business. Other concerns include the ability of the new contracted suppliers to provide all equipment listed and how some companies will be able to adequately deliver equipment and supplies because they are not located close to the areas they will serve.

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