NCB proposal nears release

Sunday, April 9, 2006

WASHINGTON - CMS put its competitive bidding proposal back in the hands of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) last week, after making some changes.

The proposal is now on the OMB docket, meaning it's in the last stages of clearance. It could be published in the Federal Register in a matter of weeks, according to industry sources.

"At this stage, the clearance process can be as long as 90 days, but my sense is that it will move quickly," said industry attorney Asela Cuervo. "I think everybody, including CMS, is eager to get it out."

There's no word on what types of changes CMS made to the proposal, which had been held up in the OMB due to disagreements between the two agencies.

CMS plans to kick off national competitive bidding (NCB) some time in 2007.

The industry continues to collect co-sponsors for a bill that it believes would lessen the blow of NCB. The bill, H.R. 3559, has 95 co-sponsors.