CMS on list of winning bidders: 'It's forthcoming'

Thursday, August 26, 2010

BALTIMORE - CMS officials during last week's Open Door Forum remained tight-lipped about whether they would be ready to release the names of the competitive bidding winners in September.

"Are you still on schedule to make those announcements some time in September?" asked Kimberlie Rogers-Bowers, senior vice president of regulatory affairs and acquisition integration at Apria Healthcare.

CMS's response: "I really can't comment on that right now," said Lorrie Ballantine. "We're in the contracting's forthcoming."

CMS announced the competitive bidding amounts and began the contracting process in July.

Rogers-Bowers told CMS officials that she was surprised that they hadn't yet scheduled a special open door forum to update providers on competitive bidding.

Ballantine told her: "We're in the contracting process, so we don't have anything scheduled. We will...have calls after the dust settles...and the contracting is done. We will have calls with contract suppliers and non-contract suppliers, as we did in the first round."

CMS officials may not be holding a special open door forum on competitive bidding, but they will be holding such a forum on the exemption for small pharmacies from the Jan. 1, 2011, accreditation deadline. Nannette Hardouin told listeners:

"We would like to announce that CMS is planning a special open door forum Sept. 28 at 2 p.m. and the purpose of the call is to review how CMS plans to implement section 3101 of the Affordable Care Act. We will also go through the recent instructions given to our contractors, answer any questions related to those pharmacies who voluntarily disenrolled last year and the next steps required for the pharmacies."

The only other topic of interest to HME providers during the forum: PECOS. CMS officials told a listener to advise physicians who are affiliated with the Department of Veterans Affairs and similar entities to fill out 855I and include a cover letter with their forms.

CMS will hold its next regular Open Door Forum for HME on Oct. 14.