Providers await CMS's request for bids

Sunday, May 6, 2007

WASHINGTON - Information regarding national competitive bidding continued to dribble out of CMS last week, but as of late Friday afternoon the all-important request for bids had not yet been released.

"'Soon there will be more information on it' is the last thing I've heard," said industry attorney Asela Cuervo. "We've heard 'soon' before, but I think they want to get this out quickly."

CMS originally stated that it wanted to release the request for bids in late April. On its Web site, it now states: "CMS has extended the target date for opening the bidding window to early May."

While providers await the request for bids, information being released is often confusing, say industry sources.

"I've had some conversations with people at CMS this week," Cara Bachenheimer, Invacare's vice president of government relations, said Friday. "I've read all the stuff, and I think I'm pretty informed, and I reach a conclusion and they say no, I'm wrong."

Cuervo added that there appears to be "gaps" in much of the information on competitive bidding that CMS has released. But once the request for bids is released, she said, she expects much of that confusion to be cleared up.

Once it has released the request for bids, CMS will accept bids for 60 days. It plans to announce the winners in the 10 competitive bidding areas in early December.