In brief: New CMS administrator?; additional cities in Round 2?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is expected to nominate Dr. Donald Berwick, co-founder and president of the Institute of Healthcare Improvement, as CMS administrator, according to news reports. The agency has been without a permanent administrator since 2006, when Dr. Mark McClellan left the post. At the institute, the 63-year-old Berwick, also a Harvard University professor and pediatrician, has worked to promote measures to improve the quality and safety of health care while reducing costs. One of the things Berwick lacks: Experience running a large healthcare organization.

Competitive bidding: AAH puts together unofficial list

ARLINGTON, Va. - AAHomecare has put together a list of the

21 cities that, per the healthcare reform bill, could be added to Round 2 of national competitive bidding. The cities are:

Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ

Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA

St. Louis, MO-IL

Baltimore, MD

Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR

Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA

Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY

Rochester, NY

Tucson, AZ

Honolulu, HI

Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY

Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA

Worcester, MA

Springfield, MA

Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice, FL

Stockton, CA

Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-Middletown, NY

Boise City, ID

AMEPA continues competitive bidding push

HOUSTON - The Accredited Medical Equipment Providers of America (AMEPA) on April 7 holds its third "in-district" day, this one in Houston, to support H.R. 3790, a bill that would kill national competitive bidding. The group has already held similar events in Illinois and southern California, and plans to hold another event in northern California. There are six representatives in Texas who haven't co-sponsored H.R. 3790.

GAO on RAC program: All bark no bite

WASHINGTON - The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has checked in on CMS and its Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) program and found that the agency still has improvements to make. In a report released last week, the GAO states that CMS hasn't done enough to address the RAC-identified vulnerabilities that led to improper payments. The GAO's recommendation: That CMS "improve its corrective action process by designating responsible personnel with authority to evaluate and promptly address RAC-identified vulnerabilities." Read the highlights at

CMS guides providers on beneficiary protection

BALTIMORE - CMS has released an MLN Matters article that provides guidance to suppliers on the Medicare quality standards for beneficiary protection and safeguard requirements related to respiratory therapy equipment, power mobility devices and other related DME. Read it at