Competitive bidding: Industry explores legal options

Sunday, March 30, 2008

RICHMOND, Va. - The National Association of Independent Medical Equipment Suppliers (NAIMES), with support from The Health Law Center and The VGM Group, set the wheels in motion last week for a possible lawsuit to stop Round 1 of national competitive bidding.

NAIMES has sought the counsel of a Washington, D.C., law firm to determine the feasibility of seeking relief in federal court. Lawyers from the firm have advised the association that there are constitutional concerns with the program.

To help build a case, NAIMES seeks to collect information from all providers who were excluded from Round 1, especially those excluded due to technical reasons. The association believes these providers were excluded, without recourse, for a myriad of technical reasons that have proven, in many cases, to be errors with CMS's evaluation process.

"We are hearing from dozens of suppliers who have received notices of exclusion from the Medicare program based on errors in the evaluation process," stated Wayne Stanfield, president and CEO of NAIMES, in a release.

NAIMES asks that providers who were excluded from Round 1 e-mail the following information to or fax it to 434-572-6889: your company name and address; principles name; phone and fax number; competitive bidding area; reasons for exclusion; statement of evidence supporting your belief that those reasons are invalid, in error or unjust; and indicate whether you would agree to join us and be a plaintiff in the case.

Additionally, NAIMES asks providers who were excluded from Round 1 and providers who plan to participate in Round 2 to donate $1,000 to a legal defense fund. VGM's Last Chance for Patient Choice provided initial funding for the possible lawsuit.

NAIMES will retain the law firm if evidence received from providers merits moving forward, the association stated in its release.

In other NAIMES news, the association's online petition to stop competitive bidding had 4,590 signatures on Friday afternoon.