CMS: 'Interim list of suppliers' would create confusion

Monday, August 30, 2010

WASHINGTON - CMS has denied a request by 136 members of Congress that it release the names of the competitive bidding winners, AAHomecare has learned.

CMS announced the winning bid amounts in July, but it doesn't plan to release the names of the bidding winners until some time in September. That spurred Reps. Jason Altmire, D-Pa., and Ralph Hall, R-Texas, and their co-signers to send CMS a letter on Aug. 11 asking for greater transparency in the process.

But AAHomecare has learned from congressional sources that CMS will not release the names of the winning bidders. In an Aug. 30 letter to Altmire, Hall and their co-signers, the agency states:

"First and foremost, we believe that providing a series of interim lists of suppliers would result in beneficiary confusion, undermining the orderly and effective implementation of the program. In addition, we have not yet notified the suppliers whose bids were not among the winning bids and we believe that these suppliers should be notified before the names of the suppliers with winning bids are released to the public. Further, announcing a subset of suppliers before the contracting process is complete could be viewed as giving those suppliers an unfair competitive advantage.

"In addition, the premature release of information may jeopardize the procurement process itself. At the request of the DMEPOS industry, the Request for Bids, which outlined the requirements governing the bid submission and evaluation process, indicated that bidder information could only be disclosed in an anonymous or aggregate format and that proprietary information would be protected from disclosure. Further, standard procurement rules prohibit disclosing the identities of bidders until after contracts are final."

To read the letter in full, go to and click on "CMS Response to Transparency Letter" under "What's New."