• CMS’ “Culture of Secrecy” and Selective Support for Competitive Bidding

    Although CMS supports competitive bidding for DMEPOS, they favor sole-source contracting in other, less well explained, circumstances. 

    The attached investigative journalism article from the Des Moines Register discusses CMS’ use of sole source contracts worth over $100 million to a foundation operating Iowa’s Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) through a no-bid contracts — a foundation which gave over $800,00 in severance pay to two former executives.  Moreover, the Register article discusses other instances in which CMS  “continues to dole out  hundreds of millions of dollars to QIOs through a process that eliminates competitive bidding.”

    Of particular concern, the article discusses CMS’ multi-year delays in responding to a FOIA request and refusal to release much of the requested information. 

    The article quotes the Project On Government Government Oversight (POGO) discussing the “culture of secrecy” in CMS and other agencies while another well known NGO, Public Citizen, is quoted in the article as explaining  that “Without public disclosure, there is no public accountability. The extent to which the QIOs are accountable to the public depends entirely on the extent to which we can find out the details about what they are doing.”

    The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE) has already written to the HHS Inspector General requesting an investigation of CMS’ refusal to release their financial qualification standards for DME providers even though agency specification of the standards is explicitly required by statute.  CRE has also requested that the Program Advisory and Oversight Committee (PAOC) also request IG investigation of the agency’s refusal to release statorily-required information.

    The Des Moines Register article further highlights the need for an investigation of CMS’ secrecy.

    CRE’s letter to the HHS IG may be found here.

    The Des Moines Register article is attached below.


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