Delay co-sponsors call out CMS in print

Thursday, June 27, 2013

WASHINGTON – Reps. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., and Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, criticized CMS for its “lackluster” response to issues with the competitive bidding program in an opinion piece published June 27 in Politico.

The piece, which emphasizes the widespread bipartisan support for a delay of the program, is in response to one written by CMS Deputy Administrator Jonathan Blum that appeared on June 24.

“This bipartisan group…is urging CMS to delay further implementation of the DMEPOS competitive bidding program, citing identified abuses and outlining concerns over the agency’s ability to appropriately screen suppliers,” they wrote. “Unfortunately, rather than respond, it appears that CMS has decided to run a public relations campaign.”

The opinion piece is just the most recent in a series of delay efforts led by Braley and Thompson. On June 14, they introduced H.R. 2375 which would push the start date of Round 2 by six months. On June 20, Thompson also asked for the Office of Inspector General to open an investigation into the bidding program.

The opinion piece is deeply critical of competitive bidding and CMS, citing the agency’s response to licensure issues in Tennessee.

“After removing 30 of the 98 contracts in Tennessee, Tavenner stated that adequate coverage for beneficiaries in the state would still be available moving forward,” the representatives wrote. “If that were truly the case, it certainly begs the question of why so many contracts were awarded in the first place.”

The opinion piece closes by urging CMS to “do the right thing and delay the program.”