CMS releases Round 2 bidding information

Thursday, August 18, 2011

BALTIMORE - CMS on Friday released new information for Round 2 of its competitive bidding program.

The list of product categories for Round 2: 

* oxygen supplies and equipment

* standard (power and manual) wheelchairs, scooters, and related accessories

* enteral nutrients, equipment and supplies

* continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), respiratory assist devices (RADs), and related supplies and accessories, 

* hospital beds and related accessories

* walkers and related accessories

* support surfaces (Group 2 mattresses and overlays)

* negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) pumps and related supplies and accessories

Manual wheelchairs and negative pressure wound therapy pumps, supplies and accessories are new additions to the list. Support surfaces were only included in the Miami CBA in Round 1.

There had been a lot of speculation about what product categories would be up for bid in Round 2, but industry stakeholders expected manual wheelchairs to be a new addition, among others. 

"The speculation has always been that it will probably be a longer list in this round simply because if they take something off the list it's an admission that there's a problem," said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Invacare.

The mail-order bidding program for diabetes has been expanded to include all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa. 

CMS in a release Friday continued to tout the program.

"Today, we're taking steps that will save Medicare, seniors, and taxpayers $28 billion over 10 years," stated CMS Administrator Donald M. Berwick, M.D. "Medicare is paying much more than the private sector for equipment like wheelchairs and walkers. By expanding our successful competitive bidding program, we can ensure that Medicare pays a fair rate for these goods."

That points to the need for providers to continue to tell lawmakers what a "disaster" Round 1 is and that Round 2 would be "devastating," said Michael Reinemer, vice president of communications and policy for AAHomecare. 

Now that CMS has issued an announcement, Reinemer expects those advocacy efforts will increase. 

"(With the announcement), a whole lot more people will see this coming down the road at them very quickly," said Reinemer. "I think it will possibly galvanize more action to get people active in fighting it." 

A list of the product categories.

An updated timeline.

A list of bid areas and zip codes.