Stakeholders ‘optimistic’ on binding bids

Friday, March 27, 2015

WASHINGTON – Industry stakeholders claimed another victory last week when the House of Representatives passed a permanent “doc fix” bill that contained binding bids language.

“Lawmakers wanted to be sure H.R. 284 gets passed into law,” said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Invacare. “Assuming the Senate passes the ‘doc fix,’ the binding bids bill will pass.”

Previously, the House on March 16 voted unanimously to pass H.R. 284, which would require binding bids and proof of licensure.

The Senate won’t take up the “doc fix” or SGR bill until after the two-week Easter recess, which begins today. 

“More Democrats in the Senate have come out in support of the ‘doc fix,’” said Bachenheimer. “I am increasingly optimistic that it’s going to happen.”

Industry stakeholders have been working with the Senate to get S. 148, a companion bill to H.R. 284, passed by unanimous consent, but having the binding bids language in the SGR bill is a safer bet, stakeholders say.

Once the SGR bill is out of the way, the industry needs to once again roll up its sleeves, they say.

“We have to come in as an industry and really push hard against the Jan. 1, 2016, rollout (of bid pricing nationwide),” said John Gallagher, vice president of government relations for The VGM Group. “Both the House and Senate know this is the train wreck that’s got to be fixed.”

Meanwhile, the bid window for the Round 2 re-compete closed March 26—a day late, due to technical glitches. Despite that, provider Woody O’Neal still managed to finish before the deadline.

“We were ready to go with a pot of coffee but the system was hung up,” said O’Neal, vice president of Pelham, Ala.-based O2 Neal Medical. “Now we’re done, and I’m going to go play golf.”