Competitive bidding: CMS schedules PAOC meeting

Sunday, May 7, 2006

WASHINGTON - CMS scheduled a meeting of its Program Advisory and Oversight Committee (PAOC) for May 22-23, and although the agenda hadn't been posted by late last week, the new national competitive bidding proposal is expected to receive top billing.

"The meeting should serve as a good opportunity to give some preliminary comments," said Cara Bachenheimer, a PAOC member and vice president of government relations for Invacare.

CMS created the PAOC in 2004 to help craft an NCB program for DME.

The NCB proposal was published in the Federal Register May 1. CMS will accept comments until June 1.

The PAOC meeting will take place at Martin's West Caterers in Baltimore from 9 a.m. until 4:45 p.m.

Non-PAOC members interested in attending the meeting must pre-register on CMS's Web site or fax the following information to Ilona Bowie at 301-650-5945: office phone, cell phone, e-mail address, company name, address and affiliation.

CMS must receive pre-registrations no later than 5 p.m. May 17. Since a large number of attendees are expected, seating will be on a first come first service basis, CMS stated on its Web site.

At the last PAOC meeting in September, panelists representing key segments of DME, including rehab and respiratory services, argued that their specialties should be exempt from NCB because they are clinically complex.