Bidding saved $202M in first year, CMS boasts
BALTIMORE - CMS officials said last week, with "great confidence," that they remain committed to a "rapid" expansion of the competitive bidding program.
As proof: On April 17, the agency announced a "recompete" of Round 1 of competitive bidding, and the next day, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a report outlining the savings it believes have been realized during the first year in Round 1 competitive bid areas.
"We are very pleased with the results so far," said Jonathan Blum, CMS deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicare, during a conference call. "In just the nine markets, total payments declined by 42%."
The report states that competitive bidding saved taxpayers and beneficiaries $202 million in its first year. HHS predicts that the program could save up to $42.8 billion over the next 10 years.
As part of determining the success of competitive bidding, CMS officials said they have monitored real-time claims from hospitals, physicians and emergency rooms; tracked beneficiary complaints; and performed beneficiary outreach to assess whether there have been access issues or other adverse consequences.
"We haven't seen any indication that would suggest that beneficiaries somehow are being negatively impacted by this program," said Blum. "The tracking work we've done to date has given us great confidence that we can expand the program rapidly to more parts of the country."
Meanwhile, Round 2 of competitive bidding is on schedule to go live next summer, said Laurence Wilson, director of CMS's Chronic Care Policy Group, during the conference call.
"We would be moving very quickly to evaluate the bids under Round 2 and the national mail order," he said. "We would expect to implement that in the 91 areas about July 2013."
One listener asked if there would be a Round 3 of competitive bidding. CMS has the authority to apply bid prices to parts of the country that, so far, have not been included in the program
"The agency is still going through the process to determine how to implement that," said Blum. "It's a couple of years down the road."
For more info on the report: http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-Fee-for-Service-Payment/DMEPOSCompe....