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Round 2021: Stakeholders analyze another piece of puzzle

Round 2021: Stakeholders analyze another piece of puzzle

Kim BrummettWASHINGTON – Newly released data from Round 2021 show that modifications to the competitive bidding program worked in a number of ways, but more are needed, say industry stakeholders. 

The data reveal that 15,695 or 42% of bids submitted for the 13 major product categories dropped from Round 2021 were disqualified for reasons that included pricing and financial issues. Hundreds of bids were disqualified for invalid bid bonds. 

“(Requiring) bid bonds reduced the amount of inappropriate companies and improved overall financial quality (of companies),” said Mark Higley, vice president of regulatory affairs for VGM Government Relations.  

CMS released the data on May 25 in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by AAHomecare. 

That data also reveal that 20,116 or 53% of the bids submitted for the products that were dropped from the program were submitted by first-time bidders, which stakeholders felt was high relative to the number of suppliers in the industry.  

“We received clarification that it’s simply a supplier who didn’t submit any claims for the product,” said Kim Brummett, vice president of regulatory affairs for AAHomecare. “It doesn’t mean they haven’t bid before. We are going to see if we can get a real first-time bid number.”  

Stakeholders, however, are still concerned with the wide variances in the bid amounts from one competitive bidding area to the next – a big take away from the first batch of data CMS released in January. That data showed bids for certain product categories varied as much as 300%. 

“The variances in the single payment amounts in 130 areas in the last two rounds of competitive bidding were plus or minus 5% to 10%,” said Higley. “There’s still a problem with the way the auction is done and there needs to be a review of that.” 


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