AADE recently conducted its fourth “secret shopper” survey to determine how the Medicare Competitive Bidding Program (CBP) affects beneficiary choice and access to diabetes testing supplies.
The results are in and, unfortunately, the situation has not improved. Key findings:
- The number of manufacturers making diabetes testing supplies (DTS) available under National Mail Order (NMO) has fallen 50 percent since the start of the CBP
- The number of diabetes testing systems available under NMO is less than half the number available in 2009 before the CPB started
- Many suppliers do not offer models covering 50 percent of the market share of DTS
- Suppliers do not provide consistent information about inventory to customers
Our survey is the latest in a continuous round of reports illustrating the inherent problems with the CBP. For instance, a 2016 National Minority Quality Forum report showed a direct link to increases in mortality and complications, inpatient admission and supplier costs. It also reinforced AADE secret shopper surveys done in 2011 and 2013, which show the same downward trend in availability and access to DTS. In 2014, we looked at insulin pumps and replacement supplies, with similar results. Read all three of AADE’s previous studies.
To ensure beneficiary safety and wellbeing, AADE is calling for a complete review of the CBP.
We applaud the recent announcement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to delay Round 2019 of the CBP in hopes that the process can be overhauled to reflect evidence-based data and best practices. Beneficiaries should have access to their preferred testing supplies, directed by their healthcare team.
Background on the Competitive Bidding Program
CMS established the CBP for mail-order suppliers of diabetes testing equipment in January 2011. Soon after, widespread anecdotal reports suggested that the suppliers were denying access to the specific brands and types of equipment promised to be available on Medicare.gov.