CMS: No price fixing, bid rigging, collusion

Monday, December 14, 2009

BALTIMORE – For the second time in a month, CMS warned HME providers yesterday that they must comply with all applicable federal anti-trust laws when they submit their bids for Round 1.2 of national competitive bidding.

“We take these laws very seriously and will not tolerate violations,” CMS stated in a Dec. 14 listserv message. “Any supplier suspected to have violated federal anti-trust laws by engaging in practices such as price fixing, bid rigging or other forms of collusion will be referred to the Department of Justice for investigation and is subject to having its bid rejected.”

During an Open Door Forum earlier this month, CMS officials warned listeners about price fixing, saying that they have “heard concerns about collusion that may be occurring.”

To help providers make sure they’re following the letter of the law, CMS included the following Q&A in the listserv:

Q: May bidders use a consultant for the preparation of their bids?

A: While bidders may use consultants to assist in the preparation of their bids, each bidder is responsible for validating and submitting its own bid. All bids must comply with all terms and conditions of the request for bids (RFB), regardless of whether a consultant is used.

Q: Are certain consultants or certain consultant services not appropriate for assisting in bid preparation?

A: If a bidder decides to use a consultant, any consultation service must be consistent with the DMEPOS competitive bidding program authorizing regulations and the RFB and permissible under all applicable federal laws. For example, a provider may not knowingly use a consultant that compares that supplier’s bid with, or knowingly makes bid item prices identical or substantially the same as, the bid of another bidder (s).

To read the message in full, go here: