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Primer: Where is the industry at with competitive bidding RIGHT NOW

Primer: Where is the industry at with competitive bidding RIGHT NOW

We are fielding daily calls from worried providers (and manufacturers and distributors) wondering what the HME industry will look like next week if Round 2 kicks off on schedule Monday.

We are checking in constantly with industry stakeholders (AKA, the usual suspects) to see if there's any movement on anything. I daren't even sneak out early (and if you know how short summer is here in Maine, you'll appreciate that). Barring that, we want to know, what should providers expect in the short term with regard to efforts to stop competitive bidding.

AAHomecare has filed a lawsuit to stop the program and we will keep you apprised of any developments with that. Unfortunately, on June 27, a federal judge refused to issue a temporary restraining order that would have halted the program, but the lawsuit will continue.

There was a hearing before the Small Business Administration (SBA) and testimony was heard from VGM, AAHomecare, HOMES and others in the industry. This is all mean to turn up the pressure.

I reported on the delay bill last week, HR 2375, and how it could bypass usual rulemaking and debate. AAHomecare summed it succinctly in its Wednesday report last night.

Recognizing the bidding Round 2 cliff on July 1, the congressmen are trying to move the bill through Congress quickly, which means getting it on the suspension calendar. The suspension calendar is a list of bills that are non-controversial, important, or that have enough support to waive the regular rules. The list is agreed to by both Republican and Democratic leadership. The 227 signers on the letter that Reps. Thompson and Braley sent to CMS should make a strong case to leadership that this bill has bipartisan support and that it is urgent.

Rep. Thompson, the sponsor of this bill, is turning up the heat wherever he can. He has asked for the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to open an investigation into the bidding program.

Make no mistake: If the delay bill were to pass today (unlikely), the industry still needs to get one through the Senate and then the Administration would need to sign off. I have been told this is a longshot.

There is also HR 1717, which currently has 134 cosponsors. There should be 227, don't you think?

I don't care if you are in a Round 1 area, a Round 2 area, or in a dark woodsy corner somewhere from Maine to Montana. Your lawmakers are home next week. Reach out to them with whatever message you think will resonate most.


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