Article and photo by Susan Mikula Campbell
Rep. Chris Collins, NY-27, stopped at Health System Services in Wheatfield on Monday to assure owners and employees of his continued support for small business.
The freshman congressman and former Erie County executive is chairman of the Small Business Committee's Subcommittee on Healthcare and Technology.
"Our focus was to briefly discuss the challenges we face as a small health care business, specifically, how the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' program known as 'competitive bidding' will hurt both patients and providers," said Robert Minicucci Sr., owner and president of Health System Services. "Given the congressman's business acumen, he appreciates our position and has asked CMS to delay this program until Congress has had time to fully evaluate its impact."
Collins said it is his job to look into anything that has a negative impact on small business. He has joined other congressmen in asking that the July 1 date for the CMS program requiring a competitive bidding contract for durable medical equipment be delayed for further investigation due to the negative impact on small business.
"We've got to fix the system," Collins said, noting that senior citizens on Medicare are well served by local small business. "They don't want their wheelchairs delivered by UPS from some national company."
Minicucci said: "The concept of bidding isn't bad. As a taxpayer, we want the best service for the price, the major flaws are in its execution. Asking companies to submit a bid for goods or services is nothing new in the business world, however, those who do bid should have to prove that they are qualified and experienced providers. They should be bound to their bids and, in this case, you have companies bidding on products and services, which they've never even provided, and some on the verge of bankruptcy."
The bidding process is far from transparent, Minicucci said. "In the end, when this program goes in to effect on July 1, our patients and our business will suffer."
After lunch with Health System Services management team, Collins also took time to speak to the company's employees.
He said his vision for the country is not a political one and that he believes there needs to be more dialogue on how to get the country moving toward "living within our means."
He noted his goal is at the top of every email that leaves his office: "The United States of America will claim its past glory as the Land of Opportunity, restoring the promise of the American Dream for our children and grandchildren."