Florida competitive bid puts providers on notice

Sunday, April 30, 2006

ORLANDO, Fla. - Urological providers in Florida face an uncertain future if a Medicaid proposal to shift to a sole provider system passes.
A request for proposal issued in December and amended several times since, seeks one provider to supply incontinence and ostomy products at 80% of current reimbursement levels.
"It's crazy what they're trying to do and what kind of pricing they expect somebody to offer," said Patti Langenbach, president of Medical Care Products in Jacksonville. "With the kind of money they're paying, quality is going to be an issue."
The proposal also requires the contract winner to be accredited and have a home medical equipment license in Florida, even though current state law does not require businesses that sell only urologicals to be licensed.
Once awarded, the contract winner would have 28 days to begin servicing an estimated 30,000 patients. A nursing review of each case is required within 72 hours of receipt, with a 24-hour turnaround on delivery to patients after that.
"Gearing up will be difficult," said Langenbach. "I'm concerned about the customer service nightmare."
Combined with the already narrow margin for urological supplies, the contract requirements could place too great a burden on the winner, said FAMES President Raul Lopez. That could spell trouble for everyone. A clause in the contract allows the winning provider to end the contract with a 30-day notice but makes no provisions for what would happen after that.
"They have nothing in place to put the next bid winner in," said Lopez. "[Are they] going to stop providing services all together?"
The contract winner was expected to be selected April 17 with implementation May 15.