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
March 31, 2011

Repeal competitive bidding, groups say

From: The Hill

Two dozen consumer and patient advocacy groups signed onto a  letter backing the repeal of a Medicare competitive bidding program for home medical equipment and services. Pennsylvania Reps. Jason Altmire (D) and Glenn Thompson (R) have again introduced legislation to eliminate the program, which the groups say will jack up prices and lower quality. 

March 29, 2011

Competitive bidding update: Bill, auction and PAOC

From: HME News

By Theresa Flaherty Managing Editor

WASHINGTON – With members of Congress on recess last week, there are no new official co-sponsors for H.R. 1041, the bill to repeal competitive bidding, but commitments are trickling in, according to AAHomecare.

“I think this week we will see a nice bump up,” said Michael Reinemer, vice president of communications and policy for AAHomecare. “People are doing follow-up meetings to firm up those commitments and restate their case.”

The Fairness in Medicare Bidding Act was introduced March 11 by Reps. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., and Jason Altmire, D-Pa. It has 20 co-sponsors.

March 22, 2011

Long-term care groups praise plan to repeal medical equipment competitive bidding process

From: McKnight’s Long-Term Care News

A new plan to repeal the durable medical equipment competitive bidding process received high praise from members of the long-term care community during a press conference Tuesday.Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Jason Altmire (D-PA) introduced the “Fairness in Medicare Bidding Act” on Tuesday to “ensure continued access to medically necessary devices and products,” according to a release from the congressmen. Speaking at a press conference announcing the bill, Cynthia Morton, executive vice president of the National Association for the Support of Long Term Care, criticized the current system.

“Flaws in the competitive bidding program have been chronicled by patients, patient advocates, clinicians, suppliers and even academic experts,” Morton said. “Patients deserve greater protections than what they are currently receiving under the DMEPOS competitive bidding program.”

March 16, 2011

Round 2: History not on industry’s side

From: HME News

By Theresa Flaherty Managing Editor

WASHINGTON – Although CMS hasn’t released an official timeframe for Round 2 of competitive bidding yet, home medical equipment providers in those areas are already running some numbers.

When it comes to reimbursement, providers in Round 1 set the bar low: Their bids cut payment rates by an average of 32%. The big question: Will providers in Round 2 go even lower?

“Will we do some of the suicide bids? No,” said Dave Hanson, operations manager for Mercy Assisted Care Medical in Janesville, Wis. “We will analyze where the Round 1 bids are at and see if we can meet that or not, or go a bit higher.”

March 8, 2011

Competitive bidding: Cramton to demo how ‘efficient’ auction works

From: HME News

BALTIMORE – Prof. Peter Cramton, a vocal critic of the competitive bidding program as it’s currently designed, has invited stakeholders, including HME providers, to attend a conference and participate in a mock auction on April 1.

The mock auction will “demonstrate how an efficient auction works,” Cramton, a professor of economics at the University of Maryland, stated in his invitation.

“The Medicare auction program is currently in a pilot stage, but (it) will soon be expanding nationwide,” he stated. “This is a critical opportunity to debate the basic issues, as well as learn about the latest auction methods that could simplify and improve the effectiveness and sustainability of the auction program.”

March 1, 2011

Issa Interested in HME Regs

From: Home Care Mag

WASHINGTON — AAHomecare has met again with senior staff from the House Oversight and Reform Committee on HME regulations that negatively impact the economy and jobs, its newsletter reported last week.

Chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., the committee is examining regulations — existing and proposed — that result in lost jobs. The association said it has brought up a number of regulations related to competitive bidding, respiratory therapy, power mobility devices, diabetes testing equipment and supplies and Medicare audits that do just that.