Fewer dangling carrots under competitive bidding


Let me start out by saying (writing?): The competitive bidding program, as it stands now, is a mess. No one in the industry disputes that (if there is, I haven’t heard from them).

But I was talking with a billing consultant today who told me that competitive bidding has actually improved the documentation process for providers.

Say what?

Well, pre-competitive bidding, referral sources had the luxury of dangling their business like a carrot.

“They had a carte blanche,” she said. “They had a lot of choice of providers, and they could seek out the provider who asked for the least documentation. There was always a provider who was willing to set up the patient, then go through the paper chase.”

Post-competitive bidding, however, referral sources have fewer choice of providers and, due to rampant audits, the providers they have to choose from are more apt to request documentation upfront, before providing equipment or supplies.

“It has helped to retrain those docs,” she said. “In that way, I think it’s had a positive impact.”

Of course, that the documentation process is improving is probably due to a perfect storm of things, competitive bidding being only one of them. There are the aforementioned audits, which may have more to do with it than anything else.

There’s also the increasingly complex web of rules and regulations that providers must follow, which I think is making not only the barriers to entry in the HME industry more difficult but also the barriers to success. Those providers that are willing to paper chase after-the-fact? I think they’re a dying breed.

I got to talking about documentation with this consultant because HME News and Emerge Sales are working on a new webcast in our “Referral Source Speaks” series on documentation. It’s going to be a good one. Stay tuned for details.