Consumer Town Hall Meeting Draws 6,600 Participants

A Philadelphia town hall meeting drew 6,600 seniors and caregivers who phoned in to learn about how Medicare's DME competitive bidding program could impact them.

The event was hosted by the Pennsylvania Association of Medical Suppliers (PAMS), and by Last Chance for Patient Choice and People for Quality Care, both affiliated with The VGM Group.

Consumers called in to listen to panelists who explained the potential effects that competitive bidding could have on Medicare beneficiaries. The competitive bidding program, run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), is currently operating in nine Round 1 bidding areas across the country. Bidding for Round 2, which will bring the current number of bidding areas to 100, is currently underway.

Speakers during the event included Users First Executive Director Ann Eubank; Kelly Booth, author of a blog on Type 1 diabetes; and Kelly Turner of People for Quality Care.

Turner described experiences from beneficiaries in Round 1 areas, including a wheelchair user with multiple sclerosis who had to wait a month for a replacement wheelchair battery, and an oxygen user who discovered that his competitive bidding-mandated oxygen provider was out of state, according to a People for Quality Care announcement about the event.

People for Quality Care describes its mission as "to educate people with disabilities, their families and senior Medicare beneficiaries about health policy changes that affect their freedom of choice. We work with advocacy groups to effect positive change and to ensure that quality, innovation and service remain part of the health care continuum."

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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