BOISE -- Health care is changing, including a Medicare mandate that will take effect in a matter of months. One Treasure Valley company is worried it will have a negative impact on their business. Norco employs about 900 people. Now they are afraid the mandate might force them to make cuts.
In 2008, the federal government passed legislation that requires Medicare companies to bid on home care providers' products. This means companies like Norco, who supply home care products, may not be doing that much longer unless they win a bid. The competition for those bids has increased.
"325 additional suppliers got Idaho DME licenses and only ten of them have bricks and mortar in the state," said Norco Executive Vice President Kevin Joplin.
Joplin said only 10 or 12 companies competing against them for bids are actually here in Idaho. Very few companies will get a bid.
"If we don't get one of those bids, which there could be as few as five of them, we would not be able to take any additional Medicare patients," said Joplin.
That would be bad for Norco since 60 percent of their patients are Medicare patients.
"Over a course we could grandfather our existing patient base, but obviously if you're not adding any new ones it'd be devastating over the course of two or three years."
Wednesday, Norco representatives met with legislative aides for Congressmen Labrador and Simpson, and Senators Crapo and Risch. They hope the legislators will be able to support legislation proposed by people in the Medicare industry.
Norco employs about 500 people in Idaho.
The winners of the home care providers' products bids will be announced in early 2013.