Medicare begins acccepting bids today
WASHINGTON - CMS cranked the national competitive bidding program into high gear today when it began accepting bids from accredited and bonded HME providers. Currently 93% of all HMEs in the United States- including those in the competitive bidding areas - have met Medicare's accreditation requirements, according to CMS.
Here's most of the text of CMS's email announcing the start of bidding:
"Competitive bidding is an essential tool to help Medicare beneficiaries pay appropriately for high quality health care items and services furnished by Medicare-approved suppliers," said Jonathan Blum, director of CMS' Center for Medicare Management. "We worked closely with stakeholders and members of the Program Advisory and Oversight Committee, which represents beneficiaries, manufacturers and suppliers, to help us implement the program with benefits for patients, taxpayers, and the entire health care system."
Suppliers in the nine communities (see information on these locations below) that bid over the next 60 days should find that CMS has made a number of changes to help them successfully submit a bid and ensure that suppliers that are awarded contracts are those best able to serve beneficiaries.
These changes include:
. Early Comprehensive Bidder Education Program that began in August 2009 in an effort to help suppliers understand all aspects of the bid submission and evaluation processes.
. User-friendly Bid Submission Process that provides a new on-line bidding system, upgraded Request for Bids instructions, and a special process for suppliers to have their financial bid documents reviewed for completeness.
. Enhanced scrutiny of bidders that includes up-front licensure verification, accreditation of subcontractors, and bidder disclosure of subcontractors.
. Updated Bid Evaluation Process that requires suppliers to meet financial standards and evaluates bidders' capacity and expansion plans to ensure that there are enough suppliers to provide beneficiaries with ready access to quality items and services in the nine areas.
"We expect that these and other refinements will result in the selection of quality contract suppliers offering a choice of products to beneficiaries at a substantial savings," said Blum.
Suppliers that have completed the bidder registration process may now access the on-line bidding system and begin the process of submitting their bids. Information and materials may be found at www.dmecompetitivebid.com and a special toll-free help line (1-877-577-5331) has been established to assist bidders with questions and concerns.
With the exception of Puerto Rico, the Round One Rebid will occur in the same areas as the first Round One. These areas are:
* Cincinnati - Middletown (Ohio, Ky. and Ind.)
* Cleveland - Elyria - Mentor (Ohio)
* Charlotte - Gastonia - Concord (N.C. and S. C.)
* Dallas - Fort Worth - Arlington (Texas)
* Kansas City (Miss. and Kan.)
* Miami - Fort Lauderdale - Pompano Beach (Fla.)
* Orlando (Fla.)
* Pittsburgh (Penn.)
* Riverside - San Bernardino - Ontario (Calif.)
The Round One Rebid will include the same items as the first Round One except negative pressure wound therapy items and Group 3 complex rehabilitative power wheelchairs will be excluded. These items include:
* Oxygen and Oxygen Equipment
* Standard Power Wheelchairs, Scooters, and Related Accessories
* Complex Rehabilitative Power Wheelchairs and Related Accessories (Group 2 only)
* Mail-Order Replacement Diabetic Supplies
* Enteral Nutrients, Equipment and Supplies
* Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines, Respiratory Assist Devices (RADs), and Related Supplies and Accessories
* Hospital Beds and Related Accessories
* Walkers and Related Accessories
* Support Surfaces (Group 2 mattresses and overlays in Miami only)
The DMEPOS competitive bidding program, combined with Medicare's accreditation and quality standard requirements, will help to ensure that high quality items and services continue to be available to beneficiaries who need medical equipment and supplies. Beneficiaries living in the competitive bidding areas won't need to take any action before the program begins in 2011.
The Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program was established by the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA). Round One of the program was implemented on July 1, 2008, in 10 competitive bidding areas. As part of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA) enacted on July 15, 2008, Congress instituted a temporary delay of the Competitive Bidding Program and mandated limited changes in the program. MIPPA required CMS to terminate contracts awarded in Round One and to conduct the competition for the Round One Rebid in 2009. MIPPA also delayed competition for Round Two in 70 additional MSAs until 2011 and in additional areas of the country until after 2011. For additional information about the Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program, please visit: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/DMEPOSCompetitiveBid/.