KCI fights for bid contracts

Provider says it was disqualified for technical reasons
Tuesday, June 21, 2016

SAN ANTONIO – With just weeks remaining before the July 1 implementation of Round 2 re-compete contracts, KCI was still in talks with CMS to reconsider its bids for negative pressure wound therapy.

“We are in discussions with CMS regarding the reconsideration of our bids,” Cheston Turbyfill, vice president of corporate communications for Acelity, KCI’s parent company, told HME News. “We don’t have a timeframe.”

In a May 19 letter to customers, the company said it was not awarded contracts based on a technical disqualification, but it did not elaborate on the disqualification.

In the letter, KCI said that it remains “fully prepared and able” to continue providing V.A.C. therapy, and said that if the contract issue is not resolved by July 1, current patients will be grandfathered under Medicare rules.

KCI received about $77.1 million from Medicare for NPWT pumps (E2404) in 2014, according to the HME Databank. Total Medicare spending on that code was about $88.5 million that year.

For the biggest player in the NPWT space not to receive contracts is surprising, say providers.

“For a company that size, with its finger on the pulse, it’s strange they couldn’t get through the bid process,” said Bill Cason, president of Memphis, Tenn.-based PMR Wound Care. 

Cason’s company won NPWT contracts for the areas in which it bid, he said. However, he worries about the impact that the reduced payment amounts—about 20.6% on average—will ultimately have on patients and the healthcare system.

“We carry quality product, but it’s hard to continue to do that with prices being driven into the dirt,” he said. “It’s ridiculous that you have these types of wounds that can really cause a lot of damage if not treated well and cost tens of thousands of dollars. It’s the patient who suffers.” hme