Bid News Blog

This news site presents breaking news on the CMS competitive bidding programs. It is interactive and readers are encouraged to post stories in their names or anonymously
September 30, 2010

Medicare To Adopt New Billing System Intended To Reduce Fraud Cases

From: California Healthline
The Small Business Lending Act, which President Obama signed into law on Monday, includes an anti-fraud provision that soon will require Medicare to do more to prevent fraud, the Miami Herald reports.

CMS’ out-of-date billing system has facilitated more than $60 billion in Medicare fraud annually, according to the Herald.

Under the new provision, CMS will be required to stop its 45-year policy of approving claims quickly without first verifying them.

New Software

By next year, CMS must implement new billing software with “predictive modeling,” a type of analytical technology that already has been adopted in the credit card industry to identify potentially fraudulent bills.

September 29, 2010

Q and A: Teresa Camfield

From: HME News

CMS’s goal: To put HME providers out of business

September 24, 2010

The CRE Calls Out AARP

From: Home Care Magazine

The CRE Calls Out AARP

WASHINGTON — In written comments submitted to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, AARP, long considered a champion of senior adults, embraced Medicare’s DMEPOS competitive bidding program as a fraud-and-abuse deterrent that would save seniors money.

“AARP believes that competitive bidding should be used for pricing durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies, as long as quality and access are not compromised by the competitive bidding process,” the organization said in its comments to the subcommittee, which held a hearing on the bid program last week.

September 16, 2010

CMS: DME Competitive Bidding Will Not Lead To Supply Shortages

From: Inside Health Policy

Durable medical equipment (DME) competitive bidding program will not lead to supply shortages and about 90 percent of the winning bidders will accept contracts, despite industry claims to the contrary, CMS told lawmakers during hearings on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

House lawmakers of both parties had mixed responses to the state of the DME competitive bidding program, though the audience was mostly industry, which wants the program repealed. In a rare outburst, the audience applauded when Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) outlined his misgivings.

Independent Experts Skewer CMS’ DME Competitive Bid Program

From: Inside Health Policy

Independent experts on competitive bidding say CMS’ durable medical equipment bidding program is uniquely designed to set prices below a level at which many winning bidders can afford to participate, which likely will lead to product shortages. Those experts plan to meet soon with the Congressional Budget Office to urge CBO to re-estimate the potential savings from the competitive bidding program.

The design of the program will likely come up at a House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee hearing on the competitive bidding program on Wednesday (Sept. 15). An internal briefing document circulated to committee staff includes a comprehensive history of the program.

September 15, 2010

GAO sees improvement in CMS competitive bid process

By Meghan McCarthy CongressDaily

Two years after Congress stepped in to stop a flawed Medicare competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment, the Government Accountability Office is expected to tell a House committee on Wednesday that HHS has improved the bidding process.

But medical equipment firms and hospitals are warning lawmakers that the program will have an adverse impact on businesses, jobs and patients.

At a House Energy and Commerce hearing on Wednesday, GAO’s Health Care Director Kathleen King plans to report that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has made positive changes to the durable medical equipment program since the agency’s 2009 report on the flawed bidding process.

September 13, 2010

House Committee Slates NCB Hearing

From: HME Business

House Energy and Commerce Committee’s health subcommittee will hold a Sept. 15 hearing on competitive bidding.

By David Kopf – Sep 09, 2010

The health subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing to discuss CMS’s competitive bidding program for HME on Wednesday, Sept. 15.

Titled “Medicare’s Competitive Bidding Program for Durable Medical Equipment: Implications for Quality, Cost and Access,” the hearing will “examine the conception and implementation of the competitive bidding program, the implementation of the Round One Re-Bid, and its potential effects on patients, providers, and physicians,” according to a formal notice from the subcommittee.

September 8, 2010

Scooter Store Formalizes New Home Care Division

From Homecare Mag

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas — The Scooter Store announced this morning it has set up a new home care equipment division.

The new division “formalizes a team that has been operating for many months, building a business plan, negotiating third-party relationships and providing manual wheelchairs, walkers, patient lifts, nebulizers, hospital beds, support surfaces and accessories in targeted markets for insurance reimbursement,” according to a release.

The division will operate out of the company’s New Braunfels, Texas, headquarters to leverage infrastructure and processes including customer intake, compliance management, revenue cycle management, and distribution and service capabilities.

September 1, 2010

CMS Refuses To Release Names Of Winning DMEPOS Bidders

From Inside Health Policy

CMS refused to give lawmakers the list of winning bidders for the first round of the Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) program and took a swipe at the industry by reminding that the suppliers had originally asked that the names of the winners be kept secret, even though the industry now wants the list released. Providing the list would confuse beneficiaries, the agency states, and it would be inappropriate to announce the winners before notifying the losing bidders.