WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 7, 2018)—Since 2015, AAHomecare has been tracking the number of suppliers and their locations to monitor the impact of competitive bidding and other factors on the industry. The analysis has helped to bring these issues to the attention of Congressional offices and HHS to illustrate the need for more sustainable Medicare reimbursement rates and bidding program reforms. There has been some progress on these fronts, most notably in last month’s IFR where CMS for the first time acknowledged the decline in the number of suppliers.
To conduct the analysis, AAHomecare has been using the supplier directory that is available on CMS’s website. However, last year after AAHomecare published the July 2017 analysis, they were notified of changes to the supplier directory, which resulted in new numbers not corresponding to previous analysis. To help maintain consistency of the data, AAHomecare changed to a process of requesting CMS data via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to capture the true state of the DME industry.
With the FOIA data, the latest analysis shows a 33 percent decrease in the number of unique traditional DME suppliers since the beginning of competitive bidding and a 31 percent decrease in the number of traditional DME supplier locations. The analysis does not include big merchandisers such as Walmart and Kmart, but rather suppliers AAHomecare deems as traditional suppliers. AAHomecare identifies traditional suppliers as companies that provide at least two of the following product categories: oxygen, CPAP, NPWT, RAD, hospital beds, wheelchair and accessories, urological supplies, enteral supplies and ostomy supplies.
Moving forward, AAHomecare will be continuing a quarterly supplier number analysis using the new data source. The supplier community’s patience is appreciated on this initiative and AAHomecare looks forward to continuing to provide useful analysis. AAHomecare emphasizes that these are still estimates based on the sources available. Find the latest analysis here.
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