OIG agrees to review bid program

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WASHINGTON – The Office of Inspector General (OIG) said this week that it plans to review problems with Medicare’s competitive bidding program.

The review is in response to a request from Reps. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., and Bruce Braley, D-Iowa.

“The Inspector General’s decision to investigate CMS’s implementation of competitive bidding is a step in the right direction for the many small healthcare providers in rural America concerned about the impact of this program,” Braley stated in a release. “When the government picks winners in a flawed bidding system, seniors on Medicare and the small businesses that serve them lose. I look forward to reading the conclusions of the coming investigation.”

In a June 20 letter, Thompson and Braley asked that the OIG investigate competitive bidding after it came to light that CMS awarded a number of contracts to providers that did not meet licensure requirements, as required by program rules. States where contract suppliers did not meet requirements include Tennessee, Maryland, Michigan and Ohio.

The OIG will conduct a review of the implementation of both Rounds 1 and 2 of the program to determine whether CMS complied with federal guidelines when it awarded the contracts.

“We are relieved to see that the OIG is looking into the serious flaws in the competitive bidding program,” said John Gallagher, vice president of government relations for The VGM Group, in a statement. “This program is deeply flawed and, should it go unchanged, will have a severe and lasting impact on Medicare beneficiaries.”