CMS to hold competitive bidding meeting this week

Sunday, May 21, 2006

BALTIMORE - HME stakeholders can call in to a special CMS Open Door Forum tomorrow, May 23, and comment on the recently released proposal for national competitive bidding.

The forum runs from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday (EDT). To participate, dial 1-800-837-1935 and reference conference ID: 8996164.

CMS's proposed rule "Competitive Acquisition for Certain Durable Medical Equipment, Orthotics, and Supplies" was published in the Federal Register May 1, 2006.

Today and tomorrow, CMS also will hold a meeting of its Program Advisory and Oversight Committee (PAOC). CMS created the PAOC in 2004 to comment and provide feedback on competitive bidding. The meeting will take place at Martin's West Caterers in Baltimore.

At the meeting, CMS officials will give an overview of the NCB proposal, covering topics such as payment rules, impact on small business, product selection and picking the first 10 sites where the program will kick off in 2007.

The call-in forum goes hand-in-hand with the PAOC meeting and is an opportunity for stakeholders to ask questions or comment on the bidding proposal.

"The important thing is that just because someone provides a comment verbally doesn't mean they should not submit a written comment," said industry attorney Asela Cuervo. "CMS is required to address the written comments when they issue a final rule. Verbal comments are considered feedback, but they are not looked at in the same light under the regulations."