AAH to CMS: ‘Withdraw proposed rule’

Thursday, September 4, 2014

WASHINGTON – CMS should scrap its plans to expand competitive bidding nationwide and to implement bundled payments, AAHomecare stated in comments submitted to the agency on Sept. 2.

CMS is proposing applying competitive bidding prices in non-bid areas by using regional prices limited by a national ceiling (110% of the average of regional prices) and a floor (90% of the average of regional prices).

“The top line recommendation to CMS reiterated AAHomecare’s position that single payment amounts (SPAs) are the product of a profoundly flawed competitive bidding program, do not reflect the true cost of doing business, and should not be used,” the association stated in a release. “AAHomecare strongly advises that CMS withdraw the proposed rule until it has balanced bidding data to implement payment adjustment in areas outside the CBAs.”

AAHomecare made the comments in response to a proposed rule that CMS published in the Federal Register on July 11. CMS is also proposing amending the competitive bidding regulations to allow it to conduct auctions using bundled payments.

In its comments, AAHomecare questioned whether CMS can legally replace payment categories under the fee schedules with bundled payments, and whether the agency can implement bundled payments without harming beneficiaries.

“This type of bundling would be so complex that it is unrealistic for CMS to expect it can implement this new methodology in the near future without placing the welfare of beneficiaries at risk,” the association stated in the release.