Survey: Mail-order program reduces access

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

CHICAGO – Medicare’s national mail-order program for diabetes testing supplies has sharply reduced beneficiary access, says a new survey from the America Association of Diabetes Educators.

The “secret shopper” survey found that:   

• The number of brands available under the mail-order program has fallen 50% since the program started;

• The number of models of diabetes testing systems available under the mail-order program is less than half the number available in 2009, before the program started;

• Many suppliers do not offer models covering 50% of the market share of diabetes testing supplies; and

• Suppliers do not provide consistent information about inventory to customers.

“Evidence continues to show that the competitive bidding process is failing people with diabetes and putting them at unnecessary risk,” said Kellie Antinori-Lent, a diabetes clinical nurse specialist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “Patient safety and choice must come first.”

To ensure beneficiary safety and well-being, a complete review of the program is necessary, says the AADE.

The association applauds the recent announcement by CMS to delay Round 2019 of the competitive bidding program. It hopes the process can be overhauled to reflect evidence-based data and best practices.