Letter seeks to rescind competitive bidding

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

WASHINGTON – Another "Dear Colleague" letter is making the rounds in Congress today.

Rep. Betty Sutton, D.-Ohio, asks Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Charles Johnson, the Acting Administrator of CMS Charlene Frizzera and the Director of White House Office of Health Reform Nancy-Ann DeParle to rescind the rule—effective April 18—on competitive bidding.

Of particular concern: The immediate elimination of thousands of eligible providers throughout the country from the Medicare program, states the letter.

According to the letter: "As growing numbers of seniors enter the Medicare program, it is important that we take care to maintain an adequate number of qualified and capable providers to address demand for care in the home, especially in rural areas."

Of the 1,005 HME providers that bid during Round 1 in the first 10 competitive bid areas, only 376 were awarded contracts. At the time, many providers said that their bids had been disqualified, many incorrectly.

In her letter, Sutton asks that any rulemaking on NC include assurances that alleged discrepancies between information submitted by bidders and received by CMS will not again result in the unfair disqualification, without appeal, of longstanding companies in our states who have offered quality homecare services for decades.

Providers should contact their representatives and urge them to sign the letter. To contact your congressperson, dial the U.S. Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Give the operator your ZIP Code and ask to be connected with your representative.

Deadline for signing the letter is Thursday, April 9.