From: HME News
by: Liz Beaulieu
WASHINGTON – It appears CMS still has a ways to go before releasing the single payment amounts for Round 2 of competitive bidding.
The agency on Nov. 29 sent certain providers who submitted bids an email alerting them to expect an “urgent notification” that requires their “immediate attention and action,” but it wasn’t a contract offer.
“They are bona fide letters,” said Chris Rice, CEO of Diamond Respiratory Care in Riverside, Calif., who received a letter.
The letters ask providers to explain how they plan to furnish products at the bid amounts they submitted and provide supporting documentation to substantiate those bid amounts. Providers must respond to the letters by Dec. 13, according to sources.
What this means: CMS is still a few weeks out from releasing the single payment amounts for Round 2.
“In Round 1, the single payment amounts came out five weeks after the bona fide bid letters were sent out,” said Rob Brant, CEO of AMEPA.
Industry stakeholders are beginning to wonder whether CMS will make its goal of releasing the payment amounts this fall and announcing the contract winners in the spring.
“I very much believe they’re behind the power curve when it comes to getting this done,” said Wayne Stanfield, president and CEO of NAIMES.
CMS sent bona fide letters to certain providers who submitted bids for diabetes supplies in September. This new batch of letters concerns products in the other categories.
“I’ve heard from a provider who received a letter about CPAP tubing,” Brant said.
Responding to the letters may not be easy, especially for the CPAP category where there have been significant changes to policy, according to sources. Providers may have submitted bids based on bundling CPAP tubing and other supplies, but now that they must prove that supplies are non-functioning before replacing them, they may not be able to do that.
“That’s a concern,” Brant said.