CMS pushes competitive bidding deadline to July 27

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

WASHINGTON - On the eve of a July 20 deadline, CMS announced that it was giving providers one more week to submit bids for national competitive bidding.

The new deadline: 9 p.m. EST on July 27. It's the second time CMS has extended the deadline. Earlier this month, it extended the deadline from July 13 to July 20.

The "constant din of technical issues" and increasing pressure by a group of legislators to delay the program likely influenced CMS's decision to extend the deadline, said Michael Reinemer, AAHomecare's vice president of communications and policy.

"People are still calling us very concerned because they're running into bottlenecks or other system problems," he said. "They're concerned they're not going to make the deadline."

In two letters sent to CMS on July 13, 65 representatives and 14 senators called for the agency to delay competitive bidding until it resolves a number of issues, including how it plans to assess the program's effectiveness (See the July 16 edition of the HME Newswire).

Meanwhile, H.R. 1845, a bill that would soften the blow of competitive bidding, passed the 100 co-sponsor mark last week. The Tanner Hobson bill includes a provision that would allow any willing provider to participate in competitive bidding.

In announcing the bidding extension, CMS stated that it continues to process requests for the user IDs and passwords needed to submit bids. The deadline for registering was July 7.

CMS also pointed out that it has revised its customer service hours to 6 a.m. to midnight EST. The help desk (877-577-5331) will operate 24 hours a day the day before bidding closes.

The full text of CMS's announcement:

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is extending the bid submission deadline for the first round of the Medicare Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program.

Please note: All bids are now due by 9:00 p.m. prevailing Eastern Time on July 27, 2007.
* On May 15, 2007, CMS issued a request for bids for the first round of the Medicare DMEPOS competitive bidding program. The original due date was 9:00 p.m. prevailing Eastern Time on July 13, 2007. All bids are now due by 9:00 p.m. prevailing Eastern Time on July 27, 2007.
* The registration deadline for USER IDs and passwords has closed. CMS is continuing to process complete and accurate requests for USER IDs and passwords for suppliers that applied for registration by the July 7, 2007 deadline. If you applied for registration by the July 7, 2007 deadline but have not yet received your USER ID and password and have not already contacted the Competitive Bidding Implementation Contractor (CBIC), please contact the CBIC via e-mail by 6 p.m. prevailing Eastern Time on July 20, 2007. The CBIC's e-mail address is: cbic.teleconference@palmettogba.com . The e-mail must contain the following information: supplier name; NSC number; contact name, e-mail address, and telephone number; authorized official name and telephone number; date of registration; and REQ number (this number can be found in the e-mail you received when you registered). Inquiries received after 6 p.m. prevailing Eastern Time on July 20, 2007 may not be able to be processed.
* Suppliers must be accredited or be pending accreditation to submit a bid and will need to be accredited to be awarded a contract. The accreditation deadline for the first round of competitive bidding is Aug. 31, 2007. Suppliers should apply for accreditation immediately to allow adequate time to process their applications. For a list of the CMS-approved Deemed Accreditation Organizations, visit: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/CompetitiveAcqforDMEPOS/
* There are revised customer service hours at the CBIC. Effective immediately, the CBIC help desk will be available to assist you from 6 a.m. until midnight EST. The CBIC help desk will operate 24 hours a day the last day before bidding closes. You may call the help desk at 877-577-5331.
For more information on the program, please visit www.dmecompetitivebid.com.

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