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
November 30, 2011

Medicare Announces Timeline, Starts Bidder Education for the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program Round 2 and National Mail-Order Competitions

From: CMS

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the detailed bidding schedule for the Round 2 and National Mail Order competitions of the Medicare Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program.  The program was expanded by the Affordable Care Act and is estimated to save Medicare, seniors, and taxpayers $28 billion over 10 years.  Already in 2011, the first phase of the program has saved Medicare 35 percent compared to the fee schedule and resulted in lower cost for Medicare patients.


November 23, 2011

Invacare urges providers to ‘Act Now’

From: HME News

By Liz Beaulieu, Editor

ELYRIA, Ohio – With Round 2’s imminent rollout, Invacare knows a new group of HME providers is scrambling for strategies to deal with competitive bidding. That’s why it launched a program at Medtrade in October called “Act Now, Ask Me How.”
Wearing buttons with the program’s name, Invacare’s Mal Mixon and Cara Bachenheimer set up shop in the company’s booth at the show to discuss how providers in Round 1 managed to keep their businesses intact, despite the program’s many challenges.
“As the largest supplier to bid winners in the first nine MSAs, we’ve had a unique opportunity to see what works and doesn’t work,” said Brian Ellacott, vice president and general manager, Invacare North American Commercial Operations. “What we’ve seen is that providers who planned ahead, reconstructed their businesses and took out costs were the ones who were successful.”
The foundation of the program is a booklet that outlines 18 steps providers can take to prepare for and succeed under competitive bidding.
One of those steps: transitioning from a delivery to a non-delivery model for oxygen, a move that has helped Round 1 bid winners make due with one-third less reimbursement, Ellacott said.
“If providers act now, in advance of Round 2, they can have the products they purchase paid off by the time the program starts or mid-way through the first year,” he said. “That means their implementation costs drop to nearly zero, so they can remain profitable.”
Provider Joel Marx says that having a non-delivery model in place before Round 1 went into effect was key to his company, Medical Service Co., winning bids for oxygen in multiple areas.
“We bid based on our costs, and since we were using non-delivery at the time, our costs were lower than others, and we were able to bid lower than others,” he said.
Other steps include developing a three-year financial plan and arranging lines of credit. Again, these steps should be taken well in advance of Round 2, Ellacott said.
“It’s kind of like a hurricane coming: You hope it’s not going to hit you, but you better prepare for it, even if it ends up changing course,” he said. “All the steps that we’re encouraging providers to take–they will help them run their businesses more profitably whatever the future holds.”
November 18, 2011

Industry keeps close watch

From: HME News

By Theresa Flaherty, Managing Editor

November 8, 2011

CMS defines durability, industry awaits CBO score

From: HME News

By Theresa Flaherty, Managing Editor

WASHINGTON – CMS last week issued final rules related to durable medical equipment, including a finalized definition of “durability.”

CMS originally proposed the defining “durability” as meeting a three-year minimum lifetime standard in the July 8 Federal Register. At the time, stakeholders said they were unsure of what CMS sought to accomplish.

They’re still unsure.

“We’re still trying to sort it out,” said Jay Witter, senior director of government relations for AAHomecare. “The proposed rule was kind of vague, so our manufacturers didn’t understand how it would affect their equipment.

November 3, 2011

Turning Leaf turns to medical supply markets

From: HME News

‘We didn’t push for this, but so many patients are requesting it’

By Theresa Flaherty, Managing Editor

LEBANON, Ore. – When provider Anne Turner added diabetes supplies to her product mix this summer she found a ready pool of customers: her CPAP patients.

“With awareness and the growth of obesity, diabetes and (sleep apnea), we feel we can touch more of the patient population by incorporating the two,” said Turner, president of A Turning Leaf.

A Turning Leaf celebrated its one-year-anniversary in September. The company has seven employees and Turner’s husband has been able to join as a full time employee.