Providers pepper CMS with bidding questions

Sunday, October 18, 2009

BALTIMORE - CMS remains on target to open the bid window for Round 1.2 of the national competitive bidding program this Wednesday, Oct. 21, and providers still have plenty of questions about the process, as evidenced by last week's Special Open Door Forum.

Cindy Dreher, content and policy lead for the Competitive Bidding Implementation Contractor (CBIC), answered a host of questions submitted before the call, and also took questions from callers. For example:


* Can a contract supplier refer a beneficiary to a subcontractor if the contract supplier chooses not to carry certain items within a product category? No. Contract suppliers are required to provide all items in a product category. A contract supplier can subcontract for the purchase of the inventory and for product delivery and instruction. Remember: Contract suppliers are 100% responsible for services furnished to bennies and subcontractors can't do everything.

* Our business currently uses subcontractors to deliver inventory and instruct the beneficiaries on using it. We must submit a letter of intent. Should we also submit a copy of the existing contract? Yes, along with other required documentation.

Financial documentation

* My company is a subsidiary of a holding company. Whose financial documents should I submit? It depends on which entity files taxes. If the subsidiary files their own taxes, we want the subsidiaries financial documentation. If the holding company files the taxes on behalf of the subsidiary then we want the financial documentation of both the holding company and the subsidiary, and the tax extract for the holding company.

* I am a primary supplier for a network. What documentation do I need to collect from all the members? What other additional documents do I need to submit? You must collect all the required documentation, which includes the financial documentation for each network member; a signed certification statement for each member as well as a legal agreement. There's a complete list on the Web site.

Manufacturer's make and model

* Is the manufacturer's make and model only to be used to determine if a bid is bona fide or will it be used for other purposes such as a formulary? This information will be used in the supplier directory on the Medicare Web site. This is so that beneficiaries and referring entities will know what products are carried by contract suppliers. It's important that you list this information for the product that you plan on furnishing.

* Is this information considered binding if they are selected as a contract supplier? If not, why is the information required and how is it used? Again, list what you plan on furnishing, but we also recognize that suppliers may need to make changes throughout the contract period. So contract suppliers will be required to update this information on a quarterly basis by completing a designated form.


* If the beneficiary changes from his current oxygen supplier to a contract oxygen supplier after the 36-month cap, how much will the supplier be paid? Medicare law requires that the supplier that furnishes the oxygen during the 36 months must continue to furnish it after the cap for any period of medical need for the remainder of the reasonable useful lifetime of the equipment. This requirement doesn't change under competitive bidding. The supplier that furnished the oxygen equipment during the 36 months of continuous use is prohibited from transferring its ongoing obligations to a contract supplier regardless of whether it's elected to become a contract supplier and regardless of whether the beneficiary remains in the CBA.

CMS encouraged providers to check the competitive bidding Web site,, for answers to common questions.