CNN Story Paints Providers As Profiteers

Video serves as a platform piece for CMS to advance competitive bidding.

A new video on CNN’s website portrays current funding mechanisms for DME as gouging the taxpayers, and positions competitive bidding as the tool for reducing the cost to taxpayer.

The video, featuring reporter Drew Griffin, used an incident in which a patient received an Invacare wheelchair that was rented four years ago from national provider Apria for well above a current online discount price as a springboard into a set of pro-competitive bidding interviews. Two key subjects were CMS’s Jonathan Blum who painted NCB as a way to protect the taxpayer, and AARP’s John Rother, who says the industry is trying to protect its profits and that the incident is “an outrange; it’s a ripping off of the taxpayer.”

While the video quoted some AAHomecare documents, no members of the association or the HME industry were directly interviewed by Griffin.

Moreover, at no point does the video discuss the negative impact initial rounds of competitive bidding had on healthcare access, choice or the other problems that became evident during 2008’s round one of competitive bidding. It also made no mention of the two separate reports from two sets of economists that concluded the program was heavily flawed.

“[The CNN story] used questionable facts to portray the industry as protecting profits and quotes AAHomecare and Congress as supporters on the wrong side,” said a statement from the National Association of Independent Medical Equipment Suppliers (NAIMES).

NAIMES also urged providers respond to the video by emailing comments to [email protected] and [email protected] “to inform them of the errors in the story and ask for an opportunity to present a balanced response to this story.”

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