NCB update: Its time grows near

Sunday, April 30, 2006

WASHINGTON - CMS put its competitive bidding proposal back in the hands of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in early April, after making some changes. At press time in mid-April, the proposal was on the OMB docket, meaning it's in the last stages of clearance. Industry sources expected it to be published in the Federal Register in a matter of weeks.
"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 NCB some time in 2007.
Meanwhile, the industry continues to collect co-sponsors for a bill that it believes would lessen the blow of NCB. At press time, H.R. 3559 had 95 co-sponsors.