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MAMES Wins Temporary Restraining Order

Tuesday, September 4, 2018 @ 01:09 PM  posted by jbuytaert

PRESS RELEASE

Contact: Luke Hellier lhellier@pubaffairsco.com 612.237.2551

Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services (MAMES) Wins Temporary Restraining Order Against Department of Human Services’ Preferred Incontinence Product Program

Department of Human Services (DHS) forced to abandon controversial program to award a monopoly distributor of incontinence products for Minnesota Medicaid patients.

(SAINT PAUL, MN) – On August 24, 2018 Ramsey County District Court Judge Leonardo Castro granted a Temporary Restraining Order preventing DHS from implementing its Preferred Incontinence Product Program (PIPP). After DHS was served with the Order, it rejected all pending bids, thereby effectively withdrawing its controversial PIPP program for the immediate future.  The PIPP was opposed by disability advocates, providers of medical supplies and equipment, legislative leaders in both parties, and Governor Dayton. Repeal language was included in the 2018 Supplemental Budget Bill, but that repeal did not take effect because it was included in the vetoed Omnibus Bill.

As envisioned by DHS, the PIPP would have designated a single monopoly distributor of medically-necessary incontinence products to Minnesota Medicaid patients. In his opinion, Judge Castro ruled that “Defendants and its employees and agents are temporarily restrained from processing any bids submitted in response to their Preferred Incontinence Product Program, Request for Proposals (RFPs), from granting any contracts to any bidder, or otherwise implementing” the PIPP until DHS satisfied several conditions imposed by the Court or until further order.

“This program posed a mortal risk to dozens of Minnesota small businesses, and the patients they serve,” said Rose Schafhauser, MAMES’s Executive Director. “14,000 Minnesotans rely upon the incontinence benefit to maintain their independence. Without high-quality products that fit well, many patients are afraid to leave their homes. I’m glad that MAMES members will continue to be able to work with their patients to manage their disease states and help them live their lives to the fullest.”

“We were proud to lead a coalition of healthcare and disability advocates to fight the PIPP, and protect Minnesotans with disabilities,” said Dr. Sheryl Grassie, Executive Director of the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities. “Minnesotans with disabilities deserve access to the products they prefer from the providers they trust. We’re glad that we can continue to build on Minnesota’s highly-successful incontinence program.”

“Judge Castro carefully and expeditiously analyzed a considerable amount of evidence and legal argument that demonstrated why DHS’s program violated the law,” said Sam Orbovich of Fredrikson & Byron, the attorney for the plaintiff.  Before filing this action, Orbovich said that MAMES first filed a petition with DHS asking it to refrain from implementing PIPP until DHS enacted an administrative rule governing the terms and conditions of the program, but DHS refused.  “I’m pleased the court recognized what medical equipment suppliers have been saying for over a year: that DHS’s overly complex, illogical PIPP is not feasible, will not save money and violates existing state laws,” added Orbovich.

The PIPP was hastily enacted without public input during the 2017 Special Session, and immediately attracted opposition from healthcare and disability advocates. The Temporary Restraining Order was granted in response to a lawsuit filed by the Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services, the industry association that represents the medical supplies and equipment industry.

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