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Preventing Discrimination and Cronyism in Agency Contracting
What's to prevent CMS from engaging in "discrimination, bias, favoritism, cronyism, and other abuse of agency discretion" in selecting the winning "competitive" bids for Durable Medical Equipment supply contracts? Nothing.

CMS has specified a detailed process for evaluating and selecting bids in the DMEPOS Round 1 Rebid. Moreover, the law requires that bidders meet "applicable financial standards specified by the Secretary, taking into account the needs of small providers." Unfortunately, CMS has refused to disclose the Secretary's specific financial standards let alone explained how the standards take small business needs into account.

In short, CMS is able to disqualify any bids they choose based on unspecified financial qualifications. CMS' policy represents the definition of arbitrary and capricious. By not disclosing the financial standards used to disqualify bids, CMS is undermining the integrity of the competitive bidding system and Medicare itself.

It is unacceptable for HHS to make healthcare decisions based on a secret protocol.

In response to the agency's secrecy, the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness has filed a petition with CMS to compel the agency to publish the Secretary's specific financial standards for DME suppliers.

Congress is engaged in a contentious debate on health care reform. Any legislation would require regulatory agencies to make complicated and controversial implementation decisions. It will be difficult for Congress, and the public, to trust such decisions to an agency unwilling to meet existing statutory public protection requirements.

See CRE Petition to compel disclosure of Secretary Sebelius' financial standards for DME suppliers

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