Bid bills need to move fast

Friday, January 16, 2015

WASHINGTON – With the bid window for the Round 2 re-compete of competitive bidding set to open this week, industry stakeholders are eyeing their options to fast track a pair of bills to reform the bidding program.

“We want to get this legislation passed quickly,” said Jay Witter, senior vice president of public policy at AAHomecare. “We are hopeful we can get on the suspension calendar.”

Both bills, introduced Jan. 12, would require providers to obtain bid bonds and provide proof of licensure before submitting bids. H.R. 284, introduced by Reps. Patrick Tiberi, R-Ohio, and John Larson, D-Conn., had 27 original cosponsors and has since added four additional cosponsors. S. 148, introduced by Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Ben Cardin, D-Md., has four original cosponsors.

“The fact that they dropped on the same day for our cause and that they came out of the chute with cosponsors is, to me, something to tip our hats about and say we made a big difference last year,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare. 

With the bidding window for the Round 2 re-compete slated to open later this week, stakeholders want to avoid a long, drawn process. The suspension calendar, held every week that Congress is in session, allows lawmakers to consider a number of suspension bills. There is typically five minutes of debate, followed by a voice vote.

“Both bills are equally important, but it’s likely the House bill would move first,” said Witter. “The House is ready to go on this and up-to-date. The likelihood of it passing is very good.”