CQRC: Slow down bid program

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

WASHINGTON – The Council for Quality Respiratory Care says the findings of a recent Office of Inspector General report further demonstrate the need to slow down the national rollout of Medicare’s competitive bidding program.

“Federal policymakers should carefully evaluate the risk for implementing cuts too fast and take measures to ensure access to quality patient care is prioritized and protected,” said Dan Starck, chairman of the CQRC, a coalition of home respiratory therapy providers and manufacturers. “We know that high quality home respiratory care keeps patients at home and out of emergency rooms, hospitals and other institutional care settings.”

Medicare is poised to implement a second round of reimbursement cuts in non-bid areas on July 1. The first round of cuts—25%, on average—went into effect Jan. 1.

The OIG found that 43% of the 146 providers they audited had not met state licensure requirements for at least some of the competitive bidding contracts they received. Additionally, it was unclear whether or not an additional 14 providers, or 9.6%, met the requirements.

“Considering that nearly half of the suppliers that were awarded contracts had not met basic state licensure requirements, we have significant concerns with the integrity of the competitive bidding rate setting process,” Starck said. “The fact that unqualified suppliers’ bids were used to set rates means that the current rates are not correct, and applying them to non-competitive bidding areas could create serious problems.”

Industry stakeholders have bills in the House of Representatives and in the Senate to delay the implementation of the second round of cuts until at least Oct. 1, 2017.