Iowa: MAMES considers licensure requirement

Friday, January 23, 2015

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – The Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services (MAMES) has created a task force to develop state licensure language for Iowa to protect local businesses and Medicare beneficiaries.

The push to lobby the state to adopt licensure requirements is in response to Round 2 of competitive bidding and CMS’s decision to award 100% of the contracts for the Omaha-Council Bluffs competitive bidding area (CBA) to out-of-state companies.

The task force is leaning toward language that would require DME providers to have a physical location within the state, or within a certain radius of the border, similar to laws in Alabama and Tennessee.

“It will keep bidders out that aren’t serious about bidding our area,” said Colleen Brabec, who owns Mobilis in Council Bluffs, Iowa. “They’ll have to comply with state licensure and if they don’t, their bids get thrown out.”

Round 2 contracts went to companies in Texas, Florida and Alabama. As a result, beneficiaries found themselves waiting up to three months for equipment, unless they chose to buy local with cash, stakeholders say. 

It’s the local providers that have been left holding the bag, says MAMES Executive Director Rose Schafhauser. 

“People say, ‘Can you get out here, my company’s not responding,’” she said. “We just don’t understand CMS’s process and why they would select a company that’s located in Florida to service Council Bluffs, Iowa,”

MAMES hopes to have legislation in place before the March 25 deadline for submitting bids for the Round 2 re-compete.