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
June 29, 2011

CMS’ Absurd Claim: Competitive Bidding Still Going ‘Smoothly’

Editor’s Note:  CMS’ claim ignores everything from the complaints of Medicare beneficiaries to the warning of academicians to common sense.

From: Home Care Magazine

Competitive Bidding Still Going ‘Smoothly,’ CMS Repeats

BALTIMORE — At an April 5 meeting of the Program Advisory and Oversight Committee, CMS officials gave what industry attendees described as a rosy picture of competitive bidding since its January implementation in nine MSAs. According to CMS’ Michael Keane, that’s still the case.

“The program continues to go very smoothly with few inquiries and complaints and no evidence of negative beneficiary health outcomes or negative adverse impacts (such as increases in hospitalizations or emergency room visits),” Keane wrote in a June 17 letter to PAOC members.

June 21, 2011

Can competitive bidding be part of a Medicare compromise?

Editor’s Note:  The following blog post discussing competitive bidding fails to note that CMS’ system is neither competitive nor an actual auction.  The author should become aware of the overwhelming academic criticism of how CMS implemented their competitive bidding mandate.

From: The Washington Post

Perhaps the most important book a health policy wonk could read today is “Bring Market Prices to Medicare,” by Robert Coulam, Roger Feldman and Bryan Dowd. In it, you’ll find an idea that neatly balances conservative and liberal priorities for Medicare and saves money. Moreover, what is proposed does not require any major restructuring of the program, and a version of it was signed into law last year and repealed a week later.

June 16, 2011

Gary Robbins brings business background to HME

From: HME News

By Theresa Flaherty Managing Editor

June 7, 2011

Looking for Those ‘Aha’ Moments at Heartland 2011

From: Home Care Magazine

WATERLOO, Iowa — For Lisa Ziehl, going to VGM’s annual Heartland Conference is kind of like going home. She meets old friends, has a great time and promises to come back next year.

She always takes something home, too.

“You always come back with some tangible things you can put into play,” said the operations manager for Rice Home Medical in Wilmer, Minn. “There is always that ‘aha’ moment that you have when you’re down there when you think, ‘This could work’ or ‘We could do this.'”

June 1, 2011

Congressional staffers get up close and personal with bidding problems: ‘Trying to educate people in the Senate has been really tough’

From: HME News

By Theresa Flaherty, Managing Editor

WASHINGTON – A pair of Hill briefings May 24 should leave no doubt in the minds of congressional staffers, including for the first time those in the Senate, that competitive bidding is a disaster, say industry stakeholders.
“CMS is doing an atrocious job with the DME auction program,” was the first slide in Prof. Peter Cramton’s presentation to the 60 or so House staffers who attended the morning hearing. That message carried over to an afternoon briefing for about 40 Senate staffers.
“I see the Senate briefing as a significant step forward,” said Jay Witter, senior director of government relations for AAHomecare. “I think the Senate is now paying more attention to the problems of bidding.”
That’s important. While House lawmakers have been supportive of repealing competitive bidding–H.R. 1041 now has 110 co-sponsors–Senate lawmakers haven’t been responsive to introducing a companion bill.
“Trying to educate people in the Senate has been really tough,” said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Invacare. “This is the first time the Senate side has heard this firsthand from Dr. Cramton.”
Also speaking at the morning hearing was Tom Milam, a PAOC member and former CEO of mail-order diabetes supply firm AmMed Direct. Milam was one of 12 PAOC members who sent a letter to CMS earlier in May seeking Round 1 data.
“The majority of the PAOC is not satisfied or happy with the quality of the data that CMS has been providing us with,” said Milam. “Communication has been stifled and our suggestions have not been replied to. That leaves us unable to fulfill our duties.”