Competitive bidding analysis

Sunday, June 24, 2007

As the July 13 bid submission deadline approaches, let's review some of the issues that can affect whether or not a provider's bid is considered or rejected.

* As most suppliers know by now, the competitive bid submission system (CBSS) is the application for bid submission. A supplier's access to the system is password protected, and to obtain a password, the registrant must be the authorized individual designated on the supplier's CMS-855S form. If the information submitted during registration does not match the supplier's National Supplier Clearinghouse (NSC) file, the registration will be rejected. Suppliers must register with the system in order to submit a bid. The deadline for registering and obtaining a password is June 30, 2007.

* Suppliers who plan to meet beneficiary demands in a competitive bidding area (CBA) by using subcontractors must submit a signed letter of intent to do that with their bid. The letter of intent must clearly identify the subcontractor's responsibilities.

* Another important bid submission requirement: Bids must be bona fide. This requirement authorizes the competitive bidding implementation contractor (CBIC) to question a bid and request documentation from the supplier to show that he can furnish a product at the bid price. Bids that do not meet this test could be disqualified.

* Suppliers must understand the common ownership rules that apply to entities submitting bids. These rules are designed to prevent suppliers under common ownership from undermining the bid process by submitting competing bids. All commonly owned suppliers in a CBA must submit a single bid for the same products--they can bid individually. Each commonly owned or controlled supplier located in the CBA must be included in the bid. The bid must also include any commonly owned or controlled supplier that is outside the CBA, if that provider will furnish product to beneficiaries in the CBA. The CBIC has provided written guidelines on the type of financial information it will accept from suppliers under common ownership. All commonly owned suppliers should carefully review the written guidelines to be sure they are submitting the financial documentation required by the CBIC.

Healthcare attorney Asela Cuervo is based in Washington, D.C.