Industry gains time in bid fight

Thursday, December 22, 2011

WASHINGTON - Congress gave the HME industry a Christmas present today, when it approved a two-month extension of a controversial payroll tax cut.

That gives the industry more time to lobby lawmakers to include its market pricing program (MPP), an alternative to competitive bidding, in a final package on the tax cut and "doc fix."

"Anything that gives us more time is a good thing," said Wayne Stanfield, president and CEO of NAIMES.

Of course, between now and then, the bid window for Round 2 of competitive bidding will open Jan. 30. But providers shouldn't look at that, or the bid window closing on March 30, as the day any chance of getting MPP introduced dies.

"I don't see Jan. 30 as a real deadline, " said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Invacare. "Just because the bid window opens or closes is not a deadline."

Stanfield urged providers to contact their lawmakers while they are home on break, but he admits that's a tough ask.

"Realistically, for most people, the last thing that's on their mind during the holiday season is making contact with their members of Congress," he said. "But, I hope they will hear the pleas of NAIMES, VGM and AAHomecare, and take some action."