Bill calls for delay, review of bid program
WASHINGTON – Reps. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., and Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, have introduced a bill to delay the implementation of Round 2 of competitive bidding, according to The VGM Group.
H.R. 2375, the “Transparency Accountability in Medicare Bidding Act of 2013,” would delay the implementation of Round 2, scheduled to go live July 1, until Dec. 31, 2013. It would also delay the Round 1 re-compete, set for Jan. 1, 2014, until six months after Round 2 starts.
During the delay, the bill calls for the secretary of Health and Human Services to contract three auction experts, a health economist and an econometrician to work as a team to independently review and assess all aspects of Round 1 and Round 2, including the program’s design, development, implementation, market fairness and sustainability.
The bill then calls for the experts to submit a report to the secretary and Congress. Items in the report would include, among others:
• Appropriateness of HCPCS codes selected
• Ability of beneficiaries to obtain these items and services
• Analysis of current or future adverse affects on health outcomes
• Identification of any material deterioration in the quality of items and services provided
• Evaluation of the costs of any preventable or prolonged hospitalizations due to lack of timely access to items and services
• Identification of the winning suppliers and the number of such suppliers that have not previously supplied the products bid
The report would also include recommendations for changes to the program.
The bill comes one day after Thompson and Braley held a press conference and sent a letter to CMS asking the agency for a delay. The letter was signed by 227 lawmakers, a majority in the House of Representatives.