CMS Open Door Forum: No New Info on Bidding Winners

At today's Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Home Health, Hospice & DME Open Door Forum, Michael Keane from the CMS division of DMEPOS competitive bidding said no new information was immediately available about the identities of the winning bidders.

"We wanted to provide an update on all the current information we have at this time concerning the final list of the contract suppliers," Keane said. "In testing a new program integrity tool on the list of potential competitive bidding suppliers, a number of red flags were raised that require further examination before CMS announces the final list."

Keane alluded to past abuse within the DME sector in his explanation of the delay. The original timeline for the round 1 redo of competitive bidding called for the identities of winning bidders to be announced by the end of September, though the official competitive bidding Web site (www.dmecompetitivebid.com/palmetto/cbic.nsf/DocsCat/Home) says September 2010 is a "target date."

"Given the past history of fraud in the DME arena, especially in Miami, CMS believes it is prudent to take the time to review these issues to ensure the program is best positioned to serve Medicare beneficiaries," Keane said. "We expect to move forward with the implementation of the program very soon, beginning with the announcement of the contract suppliers and continuing our aggressive education and outreach activities for beneficiaries and other stakeholders. Again, this is all the information we have to report on today."

An AAHomecare bulletin sent out earlier today expressed concern over the informational delay. "It is now mid-October and CMS has failed to release any information on the bid process or winning contracts," the bulletin said. "If CMS still plans to begin implementation of the bid rates in round 1 areas at the beginning of next year, it will leave little time for HME referral sources, discharge planners, providers, and patients to prepare for such a drastic change in the delivery of HME -- placing beneficiaries' safety at risk."

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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