State makes second bidding attempt

Sunday, November 30, 2008

CONCORD, N.H.--Providers here feel uneasy about New Hampshire Medicaid’s latest attempt to implement a competitive bidding program for incontinence supplies that they say will threaten beneficiary access and the provider network.

Medicaid issued a request for proposals (RFP) for incontinence supplies in September to manufacturers, distributors and providers. The state issued a similar RFP earlier this year, but it rescinded the proposal following a meeting with members of the New England Medical Equipment Dealers (NEMED) Association.

“We knew it was going to come back around again, but we’re very surprised that they didn’t reach out to the providers or NEMED,” said Karyn Estrella, executive director of the association.

The RFP outlines three possible models: the state would collect bids from distributors only, leaving the provider network intact; distributors would apply for Medicaid provider numbers, drop ship products direct to consumers and bill the state; or patients would choose between buying products from a provider or a distributor.

NEMED wants New Hampshire Medicaid to rescind the bid again and enter into an agreement with Vermont and Maine, which are jointly negotiating pricing with manufacturers and suppliers.