CMS has provided data for medical equipment bought, average charges and payments and the 386,000 doctors or medical professionals along with the durable equipment they referred.
“The total amount spent by Medicare on durable goods in 2013 was about $8.8 billion, a small portion of a $600 billion budget.”
- It was rentals of oxygen concentrators, referred by more than 210,000 providers at an average price of $120, that cost Medicare the most money, slightly more than $1 billion. Oxygen equipment, along with testing supplies and various drugs and solutions administered via infusion pumps, were at the top of the list in terms of total dollar amounts paid by Medicare. That represented more than 10% of all the money Medicare spent on durable medical equipment and supplies in 2013.
- Hospital bed rentals ($116 million in Medicare payments), power wheelchair rentals ($98 million) and lancets ($96 million) were also among the top items.
- At $28,444, an electronically controlled prosthetic elbow was the highest-priced piece of equipment Medicare paid for in 2013. The agency only bought 24 of the devices, according to data.
The top provider, a cardiologist with a practice including pulmonary disease, referred equipment services for which Medicare paid $8.2 million.
In 2014 the CMS claimed the new bidding process had saved $400 million in its first two years and projected it would save $25.8 billion over the next 10 years.
An audit by HHS’ Office of Inspector General reported that Medicaid agencies in four audited states could have saved $30.1 million if they had obtained pricing comparable to those obtained in the CMS’ first two rounds of competitive bidding.