State may change bidding proposal

Saturday, September 30, 2006

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania providers, advocates and beneficiaries turned out in droves at a recent series of statewide town meetings hosted by the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) to voice concerns on a proposal to competitively bid DME.
As a result, state Medicaid officials announced its selective contracting RFP would be delayed at least two weeks, until mid-September.
Dave Fiorini, executive director of the Pennsylvania Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers (PAMS), hailed the public response.
"The meetings were successful in getting their attention that this is not the right direction," said Fiorini. "They are making a large number of changes to the proposal (based on feedback)."
Fiorini said the proposal fails to recognize the service that goes along with supplying DME to patients.
"The major shortcoming is that it does not recognize the normal scope of service and complexity of the healthcare delivery system within the items identified in the DME fee schedule," said Fiorini in comments posted on the DPW Web site. In doing so, the proposal lumps together unrelated supplies and services that are not normally offered by any one company, he said.
Another concern is a plan to divide Pennsylvania into five zones for DME, each of which would be served by a minimum--and possible maximum--of three providers.
Smaller providers would have a hard time servicing such a large area and, as a result, could be left out of the bid processt.
At press time, DPW still planned to implement selective contracting by Jan. 1, 2007.