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
October 29, 2010

National Call on Competitive Bidding Nov. 8

Home Care Magazine:

BALTIMORE — In a post on its website earlier today, CMS notified industry stakeholders of a national education call on competitive bidding on Nov. 8.

According to the notice, “The target audience for this call is DMEPOS suppliers that will not be contract suppliers in the program.”

The call has been scheduled for Monday, Nov. 8, from 2 – 3:30 p.m. ET. The message said more details, including registration instructions, “will be shared in the days to come.”

The message also included information on “The DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program Traveling Beneficiary Fact Sheet” (MLN Fact Sheet 201010-44) now available from the Medicare Learning Network:

October 25, 2010

‘We’re Still Fighting’

From: Home Care Magazine

ATLANTA — With the Jan. 1, 2011, implementation date for Round 1 of competitive bidding coming up in only weeks, the Medicare bidding project continues to dominate industry headlines. Following is a collection of HME advocates’ comments on the program, along with excerpts from several recent studies on its effects:

“We have received hundreds of calls on our toll-free hotline from people concerned about what the Medicare competitive bidding program would mean for health and their peace of mind. Many of the callers expressed concern and fear that the competitive bidding program would mean that they would lose access to the DME care providers they know and trust.”

October 22, 2010

Competitive bidding trips up Medicare

The Indianapolis Star

Kerry Anne McGeary

For years, some economists and members of the medical community have argued that the health-care system, particularly Medicare, would function better under free-market forces because it would improve competition and, potentially, foster innovation. The free market would invigorate the industry, opening doors to new companies and providing consumers improved services at lower prices.

October 20, 2010

Competitive bidding fuels acquisition activity

From HME News:

Offers are very low–as little as 30 cents on the dollar

YARMOUTH, Maine – M&A activity in the first nine competitive bidding areas (CBAs) appears to be heating up as some HME companies that lost bids try to buy their way into the program.

“There are companies servicing one of the first nine CBAs that did not win a bid and they do not want to stop servicing Medicare beneficiaries,” said Jeff Baird, an attorney with Brown & Fortunato in Amarillo, Texas. “So they are going out and finding contract winners to buy.”

October 18, 2010

Providers in Limbo as Bidding Questions Mount

Home Care Magazine

ATLANTA — HME providers found themselves on another competitive bidding roller coaster ride last week as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced it was holding up announcement of the Round 1 rebid contract winners.

“I think a number of things are going on behind extremely closed doors,” said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Elyria, Ohio-based Invacare Corp. “Maybe something has gone awry, maybe our predictions have come true, but it’s very hard to say. Nothing is being confirmed by CMS. They just say that everything is on track.”

October 14, 2010

Another Delay

From: Home Care Magazine

CMS Delays Announcement of Round 1 Bid Winners

 BALTIMORE—On a regularly scheduled Open Door Forum this afternoon, CMS said it would delay release of the list of contract winners in the Round 1 rebid of competitive bidding. According to an agency timeline, names of the winners were to have been announced in September before implementation of the program in January 2011.

CMS’ Michael Keane delivered the following announcement on the open call:

Worries Remain over Beneficiary Care under Competitive Bidding

From: Home Care

FORD CITY, Pa.—Three birds in a cage positioned over a nebulizer and an oxygen concentrator—that’s what was causing the patient’s distress.

“He was inhaling bird droppings,” said Kimberly S. Wiles, BS, RRT, vice president of respiratory services for Ford City, Pa.-based Klingensmith Healthcare.

It’s likely that patient’s condition would have continued to worsen had it not been for the respiratory therapist from Klingensmith who visited his home to assess the situation—and quickly determined it was a bird problem.

“No one would have known that over the phone,” Wiles said.

October 8, 2010

What’s the hold up? CMS continues to delay naming bid winners

From: HME News

By Mike Moran Executive Editor

BALTIMORE – The HME industry sat on the edge of its seat last week, waiting for CMS to announce the names of providers who won contracts for national competitive bidding.

“We hear, anecdotally, that it is a real mixed bag out there,” said Cara Bachenheimer, Invacare’s senior vice president of government relations. “There are good folks who have accepted contracts. And then we hear that some people have gotten contracts and it’s like, ‘Who are these people?’ And you do a little research and they are bankrupt.”