New contract suppliers, new licensure issues?

Friday, November 8, 2013

WASHINGTON – It’s still early, but industry stakeholders are already hearing reports of licensure issues in the Round 1 re-compete.

This time, however, it’s licensed providers that say their bids were rejected because, according to the Competitive Bidding Implementation Contractor (CBIC), they were not properly licensed.

“We’ve just begun licensure analysis, but CMS seems to be making the same kind of mistakes,” said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Invacare. “And it’s only nine bid areas.”

In Round 2, CMS awarded hundreds of contracts to suppliers that didn’t meet licensure requirements.

One provider in Round 1 received only one contract offer in the re-compete. In an email to HME News, the provider wrote:

“We were absolutely stunned to learn that our bids were rejected because, according to the CBIC, we are not licensed in the state in that product category. Please bear in mind that we are and have continually been licensed in North Carolina to provide medical equipment.”

Adding insult to injury, out-of-state companies that do not meet local licensure requirements received contract offers, the provider wrote.

Even as stakeholders parse new re-compete information, they continue to lobby for H.R. 1717, a bill that would replace the competitive bidding program with the market-pricing program (MPP). The bill has 157 co-sponsors in what’s becoming a dwindling congressional session.

AAHomecare is working with People For Quality Care to get stories of the impact on beneficiaries in front of the public. The association’s president, Tom Ryan, acknowledges that providers are battle weary.

“I know everybody is going about trying to survive under these new price constraints,” he said. “It’s going to take a Herculean effort to get the story out there but we’ve got to continue to engage.”