Clock ticks on re-compete, investigation kicks off

Friday, September 20, 2013

WASHINGTON – Now that fall has officially begun, the HME industry’s collective eye has once again turned to the timeline for the Round 1 re-compete.

“I suspect they will announce the bid amounts and the bid winners at the same time,” said John Gallagher, vice president of government relations for The VGM Group. “CMS will hit their Jan 1, 2014, target, but will it educate providers or beneficiaries? No. They haven’t in the past, so why should we think it would be any different this time?”

CMS had originally planned to release the single payment amounts in the spring and the names of the contract suppliers this fall. 

Gallagher’s best—and unofficial—guess is an announcement sometime in October. That would track with what happened in Round 1 of the program when bona fide letters were sent to bidders about five weeks before the single payment amounts. Bidders in the Round 1 re-compete who received bona fide letters in August had to respond by Aug. 28

Meanwhile, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) has begun its investigation into concerns that contracts were awarded to unlicensed providers in four states.

“We had a call with the OIG this week and presented information to them that we had developed documenting the licensure problems,” said Jay Witter, vice president of government affairs for AAHomecare. “We also asked them some questions, but they couldn’t tell us much.”

As to when the investigation might be completed, it’s anyone’s guess.

“They are in the beginning phases and they couldn’t tell you if they wanted to right now,” said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Invacare.