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
May 30, 2012

AAHomecare expresses “grave concern” over new bid categories

From: Home Care Magazine

The American Association for Homecare expressed “grave concern” last week to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) over new product categories devised for the Competitive Bidding Program’s Round 1 Recompete.

In comments submitted to CMS on May 23, AAHomecare noted that the new categories include products never before included in competitive bidding and groups of products that just don’t make sense.
Specifically, the association noted:

• New product categories are outside the scope of the final rule on competitive bidding published by CMS.

May 23, 2012

A Blueprint for Success

From: Home Care Magazine

Replacing competitive bidding is a real possibility if we all work together

May 20, 2012

CRE Sends White House Critical Analysis Of DME Bid Program

From: Inside CMS

On the eve of a House hearing on the Medicare competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment, the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness last Tuesday (May 8th) sent John Holdren, assistant to the president for science and technology, a paper that recommended CMS pay for a laboratory simulation of the DME bidding rules to assess their efficiency and determine how they should be changed. The paper, which is critical of the bidding effort, analyzes the program and compares CMS’ design to that of auctions developed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The purpose of such a trial, which is the process FCC has used to design auctions, would be to fairly compare how the CMS bidding rules affect the price of durable medical equipment and services, CRE says. The clinical test could also compare the difference in the quality of the services received by beneficiaries through the CMS bidding program and the quality of services beneficiaries receive paid for under a price schedule. CRE recommended the clinical test also evaluate the sustainability of the auction process compared to other sets of rules.

May 18, 2012

Obama, Romney Attempt To Distinguish Rival Medicare Reform Plans

From: California Healthline

In their messages to voters over the past several months, President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney have attempted to distinguish their policy proposals to reform Medicare, the New York Times reports. They also have accused each other of backing plans that would end the program.

Romney has unveiled a proposal to increase the Medicare eligibility age and offer a new option for beneficiaries to purchase private coverage. Under the proposal, the Medicare eligibility age would increase by one month annually.

May 16, 2012

CMS: Get Ready for DMEPOS Competitive Bidding

Editor’s Note: In the following release from CMS, the agency states that their contractor “is the official information source for bidders” and encourages industry members to “stay informed” by obtaining information from the contractor. CRE encourages industry members to stay informed by reading and posting on the Competitive Bidding Interactive Public Docket, by reading the trade press, and by following and participating in the activities of industry and patient advocates working to protect beneficiaries from the evolving impacts of CMS’ not-so-competitive bidding program.

From: CMS/Competitive Bidding Implementation Contractor (CBIC)

The Medicare Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program Round 1 Recompete is coming soon!!

May 11, 2012

CMS Suggests Caregivers Run Errands to Cover for Competitive Bidding Service Lapses

One of the critical failings of CMS’ bid-based acquisition program for DME is that it prices only goods, not the services which are an integral part of life-sustaining home medical equipment.

The problems from CMS’s failure to include services as part of the DME they put out for bids started to become apparent at a hearing of the Health Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee.

A member of the Committee, Rep. Gerlach asked a senior CMS official official whether the national mail order competition for diabetes testing supplies could mean that nursing homes may not be able to receive the specific brands of products that the physician prescribed and may be required to settle for products which are not, in the view of the docter, most appropriate.

May 8, 2012

CMS Is Likely to Expand their Defective Competitive Bidding System to Other Health Sectors

CMS’ competitive bidding program for Durable Medical Equipment (DME) has, as has been explained by over two hundred economists including several Nobel laureates, two fatal flaws:

  1. The bids are not binding B people can game the system by bidding low and then raising their price after the lower price was accepted.
  2. Since the low-ball bids are not binding, CMS ends up setting DME prices, not bidders – a continuation of fee-for-service under another name.

The health community at large should be concerned about CMS’ covert price manipulation since, in this era of ever-tighter budgets, CMS is likely to expand their “competitive bidding” price-setting program to retail pharmacies for diabetic supplies, pharmaceuticals, diagnostic tests, and physician services.

May 2, 2012

New Medicare process dogs equipment sellers

From: Crain’s Cleveland Business

Even winning bidders wounded by new program, which feds say saves millions

The Obama administration is celebrating its use of competitive bidding to buy medical equipment for Medicare beneficiaries as a big cost saver in 2011, but the Northeast Ohio companies that sell the equipment haven’t been so quick to sing the program’s praises.

Rather, they contend the competitive bidding program, which rolled out in Cleveland and eight other metropolitan areas last year, has taken a bite out of their revenue while forcing them to trim staff and diversify their lines of business.