CMS works on CB demo report

Monday, May 26, 2003

May 27, 2003

LAKELAND, Fla. and SAN ANTONIO - The competitive bidding demonstration projects are over, and all that’s left is for CMS to issue a final report evaluating the projects. That report is expected to come out sometime this year, possibly by late summer.

At this point, CMS officials feel the projects went “extremely well.” Reimbursement on equipment and services dropped on average 20% and saved the Medicare program $4.8 million, said one CMS source.

When it comes to industry complaints that participating providers never made up in volume what they lost in reimbursement, a CMS source said: “We never promised anything in terms of exact volume. We were up front and said there will be multiple suppliers and you will have more volume than if you didn’t win.”

Big deal, say providers like Albert Vale, owner of Hope Medical Supply in San Antonio.

“The thing they were interested in was reducing price and they did,” said Vale. “We saw a reduction in profitability. If the cuts were to stay, you start looking for ways to cut down on your services and the beneficiary is the one who starts taking the cut.”

The San Antonio demo ended Dec. 31. The Polk County demo concluded Oct. 31.

For more on this story, see the July issue of HME News.