Round 2 of competitive bidding: CMS is working on it

Thursday, February 10, 2011

WASHINGTON - There are more questions than answers about Round 2 of competitive bidding, but that may be a good thing, HME industry stakeholders say.

The last they knew, CMS planned to announce the zip codes and product categories for Round 2 in the fall of 2010, open registration in the winter of 2010-11, accept bids in the summer of 2011 and implement the program Jan. 1, 2013. But so far, the agency has been "strangely quiet" about the next step in the program, they say.

"I think it's good that they haven't finalized that information," said Seth Johnson, vice president of government affairs for Pride Mobility Products. "Hopefully, what they're doing is a thorough review of the outcomes of Round 1, making sure, before they expand the program, that all the processes and procedures are in place to ensure positive outcomes."

All stakeholders know for sure: That Congress has required CMS to start working on Round 2 some time this year in 91 metropolitan statistical areas.

Stakeholders hope CMS is taking its time to, among other things, improve its outreach efforts to referral sources and beneficiaries.

"That's always been an issue--what happens when they spread out the program to all of these additional areas," said Peter Amico, a member of CMS's Program Advisory and Oversight Committee (PAOC) for competitive bidding and the owner of Prime Care Medical Supplies in Holtsville, N.Y. "All the problems with Round 1, with doctors and patients being confused and misled--I hope CMS is trying to resolve those issues before Round 2 takes effect."

Laurence Wilson, director of the chronic care policy group at CMS, told Wayne Stanfield, executive director of NAIMES, last week that "there was still some work to do" for Round 2.

"Those were his words," Stanfield said. "He was non-committal about specifics, but he said that Round 2 would be going forward later this year."

There may be work to do, but stakeholders don't expect CMS to overhaul the program for Round 2.

"I think they may put manual wheelchairs in there--whether it's in addition to power wheelchairs or a substitute for them, I don't know, but my suspicion is that they'll be in there," said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Invacare. "Other than that, I suspect close to zero changes, because they're telling everyone it's such a wonderful program."



I have to laugh when I hear President Obama say " Small Business is the backbone of our nation. My Brother and I have had a small DME business for 13 years..but Medicare and large corps have all but put us out of business. Here's a senirio... don't sign UP FOR COMPETITVE BIDDING and their outrageous demands and better yet LET's BAN TOGETHER AND HIRE AN ATTORNEY TO START A CLASS ACTION LAW SUIT AGAINST MEDICARE FOR BREACH OF CONTRACT! IT'S NOT RIGHT AND IT'S NOT FAIR AND WAIT UNTIL WE HAVE TO TELL GRANDMA SHE HAS TO TRAVEL 20 MILES TO GET HER SUPPLIES.

I spent nine months and my life's saving going through the process of purchasing a DME that had been in business for nine years.

I received a goverment loan from the Small Business Adminstration ( SBA ) and to learn after I made the purchase that something was happening called Competitive Bidding Round 2, and It was already past the dead line to sign my company up for Round 2.

One goverment agency approved my SBA loan to purchase a DME and now Medicare is going to shut me down due to competitive bidding. I have been in this business for almost ten months and I like it.

However Medicare has make it difficult for a small DME business to survive. So where is my Goverment ? and they say there for small business growth. How can they do this?