CMS says: Mission accomplished

Saturday, May 31, 2003

WASHINGTON — The competitive bidding demonstration projects in Polk County, Fla., went well for a number of reasons, despite provider grumblings to the contrary, say CMS officials.

First of all, they saved money, $4.8 million after administrative costs and other expenses. Secondly, by allowing fairly large numbers of providers to participate (not just the lowest bidders), the demos maintain market competition and ensured beneficiaries access to quality services.

“Everyone would like to quadruple their volume overnight, but it is a trade off,” said Mark Wynn, team leader for the demonstrations. “We’re trying to have a reasonable number of players and a reasonable increase in volume. I have yet to hear of a supplier that wants to use a single bidder system.”

With fewer providers, supplier volume would increase but the competition wouldn’t be as great.

“We feel having multiple providers does a couple of things,” said Wynn. “It enables more people to play and it ensures a continuing incentive to have high quality items and services. If a beneficiary doesn’t like one provider, he can go to another. It also allows us to use small businesses as well as large suppliers because you don’t have to be huge to participate.” HME