CMS releases general competitive bidding timeline

Sunday, May 31, 2009

WASHINGTON - Home medical equipment providers will be able to register for national competitive bidding this summer and submit bids this fall, CMS announced in a press release last week.

Members of the Program Advisory and Oversight Committee (PAOC) will meet with CMS officials June 4 to discuss the timeline for competitive bidding and other issues.

"We're developing a specific line of questions," said Walt Gorski, a PAOC member and AAHomecare's vice president of government affairs. "We don't want to be hostile or divisive--we want to make sure this is as productive a meeting as possible--but if competitive bidding moves forward, we want to make sure it reflects the realities of the HME industry and recognizes the flaws of Round 1."

Other agenda items for the PAOC meeting include the online bidding system and financial documentation requirements. The committee will also take public comments.

Seth Johnson, a former PAOC member who plans to attend the meeting, will suggest that CMS officials wait until the accreditation and surety bond requirements are implemented on Sept. 30 and Oct. 2 before re-implementing competitive bidding.

"Providers really need to meet those requirements for them to submit, in CMS's words, "a qualified bid,'" said Johnson, vice president of government affairs for Pride Mobility Products.

Johnson also plans to suggest that CMS officials test the online bidding system before registration opens to make sure "it's sound and not riddled with problems like last year," he said.

In its release, CMS stated that it has begun "pre-bidding" awareness and education efforts on key steps providers need to take to be ready for registration and bidding, including:

*    Getting appropriate state licensure. (Providers submitting a bid for a product category in a competitive bidding area, CBA, must meet all state licensure requirements for that product category for every state in that CBA.)

*    Updating Medicare enrollment files with the National Supplier Clearinghouse. (On form CMS-855S, review and update list of products and services, authorized official information and correspondence address.)

*    Getting accredited and bonded.

In the release, CMS also states that it "has made a number of process improvements for Round One Rebid, such as upgraded online bid submission system, early bidder education and increased oversight of bidders that are new to product categories or competitive bidding areas to ensure they meet requirements."

Competitive bidding will take place in the following areas:

*    Cincinnati - Middletown (Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana)

*    Cleveland - Elyria - Mentor (Ohio)

*    Charlotte - Gastonia - Concord (North Carolina and South Carolina)

*    Dallas - Fort Worth - Arlington (Texas)

*    Kansas City (Missouri and Kansas)

*    Miami - Fort Lauderdale - Miami Beach (Florida)

*    Orlando (Florida)

*    Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania)

*    Riverside - San Bernadino - Ontario (California)

The following product categories will be put out to bid:

*    Oxygen and oxygen Equipment

*    Standard power wheelchairs, scooters and related accessories

*    Complex rehab power wheelchairs and related accessories (Group 2 only)

*    Mail-order replacement diabetic supplies

*    Enteral nutrients, equipment and supplies

*    CPAP machines, RADs and related supplies and accessories

*    Hospital Beds and Related Accessories

*    Walkers and related accessories

*    Support surfaces (Group 2 mattresses and overlays, in Miami only)

For more info, go to: