CMS Begins Supplier Education for NCB Redo

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) this week starts what it is calling “pre-bidding supplier awareness” in preparation for national competitive bidding.

The June 4 meeting of the new Program Advisory & Oversight Committee (PAOC) will be followed by what CMS is calling “a detailed timeline for the program in the summer.”

CMS says the bidder registration period – when suppliers hoping to participate in the competitive bidding program need to register their intent – “is expected to begin this summer before bidding opens in the fall.” In response to previous complaints about the bidding process, CMS says it plans to implement “an upgraded online bid submission system, early bidder education and increased oversight of bidders that are new to product categories or competitive bidding areas to ensure they meet CMS’ requirements.”

Concerns about the original competitive bidding program -- which went into effect on July 1, 2008, but was halted just two weeks later by the Medicare Improvements for Patients & Providers Act -- included the fact that some suppliers had won bids for product categories they had not before provided, or bids for geographical areas in which they had little or no staffing and service in place.

In a May 29 news release, CMS said the original competitive bidding program “resulted in average savings of 26 percent compared to the prices Medicare would have paid for the competitive bid items under the existing DMEPOS fee schedule in 2008.”

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at

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