Contracts for three products up for grabs

Monday, March 31, 2008

POCATELLO, Idaho – The state hit providers with a triple whammy in January, when it put out requests for bids for mail order contracts to provide diabetes, enteral nutrition and incontinence products to the state’s Medicaid patients. The state plans to award three-year contracts to one bidder in each category.
“We believe it’s in violation of state law,” said Mike Calcaterra, president of the Big Sky Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers. “Idaho Medicaid rules provide for patient choice and this doesn’t.”
Industry leaders are especially frustrated with the way they learned about the proposals—just days before the original comment period was scheduled to end on Jan. 25. Ordinarily, changes to Medicaid are communicated directly from the state Medicaid department, but the RFBs were posted on the state’s purchasing Web site, said Troy Paz, general manager of Maag Medical in Pocatello.
“We are certain 100% of providers did not get notification,” he said.
Since becoming aware of the RFPs, the association has convinced the state to extend the comment period to Feb. 8. Additionally, it has explored possible legal options; voiced its concerns to lawmakers, including the governor’s office; and enlisted support from beneficiaries.
“We’re informing end users of what’s coming their way,” said Calcaterra. “We’re encouraging them to get involved or their choice is going to go away. HME