Providers are picky, defiant about bid contracts


We’re a day or so into our most recent Newspoll question:

In general, have you accepted the majority of the contracts that you’ve been offered by Medicare as part of the competitive bidding program?

So far, with more than 60 respondents tallying their votes, the results are almost 50/50 yes/no, with a slight edge to no.

Parsing through the submitted comments to the open-ended question to the poll (share why you have or haven’t accepted contracts and how you’ve been able to make that work for your business), I’ve noticed some pretty interesting themes:

*A number of HME companies that are part of a hospital or health system responded how in previous rounds of the competitive bidding program they were not offered or did not accept contracts and it significantly slowed down the discharge process, resulting in longer lengths of stay. It also increased the chance of re-admission because often more than one provider was required for discharge. One of these companies said it was more aggressive with its bids in the Round 2 re-compete as a result. “While the margins are thin, the outcomes will counter the risk associated with fragmented providers,” the provider wrote.

*A number of HME companies responded that they were picky about the contracts that they accept. One of those companies wrote:

“We did not receive any contract offer in the previous round but were able to preserve our profitability due to our payer mix and by diversifying into other product lines, which allowed us to maintain our staffing levels. This round, we received contract offers in all three CBAs but not in all contract categories. We declined half of the contracts due to price (all contract offers were at rates that were less than what we bid) and a lack of contract category synergy. We also factored in the audits that would surely follow. The ones we accepted were at numbers, we believe, are workable for our business plan. For the rest, Medicare can look for some other sucker. We're stupid but we're not that stupid.”

*A number of HME companies are defiant about the bid program. One company wrote: “We were very nervous about declining the contracts, but business is good. I will not allow my reputation of service and quality products be threatened by low reimbursement.”

Check an upcoming HME Newswire for the final results and full story.