CMS delays competitive bidding rule

Sunday, February 15, 2009

WASHINGTON - HME providers caught a break Friday when CMS announced it would delay moving forward with national competitive bidding for another 60 days.

The new effective date of the interim final rule on competitive bidding: April 18.

CMS's announcement came one day after comments on the rule were due and just weeks after a memo from the Obama administration recommending that all federal agencies consider delaying regulations that had been published but had not taken effect yet.

The delay provides a "temporary reprieve," stated Tyler Wilson, AAHomecare president and CEO, but the industry wants more.

"I hope that CMS will circle back and conclude they should work with homecare providers through the PAOC and other means to make sure the reimplementation is free of flaws," he stated. "Or better yet, CMS should work with the HME community to convince Congress that the bidding program will harm beneficiaries and providers alike and should be scrapped. AAHomecare continues to push Congress to terminate the bidding program altogether."

Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, wrote a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services Feb. 2, asking the agency to "consider rescinding the interim final rule prior to its effective date and resubmitting a revised version for public comment."