Round 2: Last minute double-checking and second-guessing

Friday, March 30, 2012

BALTIMORE - The bid window for Round 2 officially closed on Friday night, and industry sources say, for the most part, the system worked smoothly.

"Considering the number of people that are bidding, I have personally heard of very few issues," said Wayne Stanfield, president and CEO of NAIMES. "From a technical standpoint, the system is working very well."

That's a good thing, because at this point in the game, no issue is minor, said Walt Gorski, vice president of government relations for AAHomecare, which spent last week helping providers dot their Is and cross their Ts.

"The last thing we want is for someone to be disqualified on a technicality," he said.

One such technicality, Gorski said: Do providers who plan to ship items need a formal subcontracting agreement in place with a common carrier?

"The CBIC was saying yes as recently as a week ago, but we got them to change that," he said. "The answer is no."

Many providers in the Philadelphia CBA, which includes Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey, were submitting bids without any guarantee that they would get the Maryland residential service agency license by the May 1 licensure deadline. If they don't, their bids will be rejected.

"This is something that's going to have to play itself out," said John Shirvinsky, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of Medical Suppliers. "We will have to see who got their licenses, who didn't, and how we go forward."

For providers without any such overhang, the close of the bid window meant some relief. On Wednesday afternoon provider Kimberly Lynn was clearing her desk in anticipation of a few days off. She said the process was not as difficult as she anticipated.

"The system was easy to maneuver," said Lynn, HME operations manager for Carolina Apothecary in Reidsville, N.C. "The hardest part was that it was time consuming, gathering cost per product and manually entering model names and manufacturers' names. It was a lot of manpower hours."

Provider Chris Rice spent the last few days of the bid cycle "double-checking and second-guessing" his bids, although an attempt to burn the proverbial midnight oil fell short. That's because DbidS went offline at 12 p.m. EDT.

"I was in the middle of trying to do a bunch of data entry Wednesday night," said Rice, director of marketing for Riverside, Calif.-based Diamond Respiratory Care. "I was trying to deal with that mess of a wheelchair category and get everything entered and midway through that, it became 9 p.m. and that was that."