Medical Equipment Purchasing Program Saves $202 Million

Health Care

Program Expanding into 6 more Texas Metropolitan Areas in July 2013

Wheelchair and walkerMedicare saved $202 million in 2011, the first year of a competitive bidding program to purchase durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies (DMEPOS) which started in nine parts of the country, including the Dallas/Fort Worth area. This is a reduction of 42% in costs, according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services April 18, 2012. The program requires Medicare beneficiaries to order their equipment from a contracted provider in order for Medicare to pay for it.

Work is already underway to expand the DMEPOS program into 91 more areas on July 1, 2013, including six in Texas: Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos; Beaumont-Port Arthur; El Paso; Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown; McAllen-Edinburg-Mission; and San Antonio-New Braunfels. The program is expected to be nationwide in 2016.

DMEPOS currently covers oxygen supplies and equipment; wheelchairs, scooters and related accessories; and some other items. Additionally, a mail-order component that also starts in July 2013 will cover diabetic testing supplies for all people on Medicare nationwide.