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
April 28, 2011

Competitive bidding’s impact spreads

From: HME News

‘This is the first indication of a rate reduction based on the bid’

By Liz Beaulieu Editor

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – If you still think competitive bidding doesn’t affect you because you’re not in a Round 1 or Round 2 CBA, here’s a wakeup call.

HealthSpring, which owns and operates Medicare Advantage plans in 11 states and Washington, D.C., notified its contracted DME providers in an April 6 letter that it plans to adjust its rates based on the new competitive bidding rates. The kicker: The company states that “this is a corporate initiative to standardize our DME fee schedules across all states and markets.”

April 21, 2011

Palmetto chopping 97 Ohio jobs in Medicare contract shift

From: Columbus Business First

A change in contractors handling Medicare claims in the state could put as many as 97 Ohio workers at a Blue Cross and Blue Shield subsidiary out of a job, including 92 employees in Columbus.

Palmetto GBA LLC, a Medicare contractor and unit of Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, told the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services that 92 of the 290 employees at its Easton Way offices will be cut loose June 17. Billy Quarles, a spokesman for Blue Cross, said five of the 92 workers at an office in Wheelersburg, east of Portsmouth, will be cut the same day.

April 11, 2011

Rosy Picture of Round 1 Shows CMS ‘Disconnect,’ HME Advocates Say

From: HME News

BALTIMORE—All is well. That was the word about Round 1 of competitive bidding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at last week’s meeting of the Program Advisory and Oversight Committee.

After all, agency representatives said, of the 54,000 calls the 1-800 Medicare line has received about competitive bidding, only 43 were complaints.


“There seems to be a very large disconnect that CMS has no problems,” said Walt Gorski, vice president of government relations for the American Association for Homecare and a member of the PAOC. “We look at it as 54,000 people calling in to express concerns—and only in nine competitive bidding areas. Imagine what is going to happen as the realities of competitive bidding set in and there is a ten-fold expansion in the next round.”

April 6, 2011

Competitive bidding: Conference re-energizes repeal or reform debate

From: HME News

By Liz Beaulieu Editor

BALTIMORE – It doesn’t matter how you slice it and dice it. Some providers say they don’t think competitive bidding is a good way to set pricing for home medical equipment products and services—period.

Providers were among the attendees of an April 1 conference organized by Prof. Peter Cramton, a vocal critic of the current competitive bidding program. One of the purposes of the conference: To stage a mock auction based on an alternative model for the program he has designed.