Ombudsman Told of Round 1 Problems

The American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare) has told a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) ombudsman about multiple problems related to implementation of competitive bidding in “round 1” regions across the country.

Michael Reinemer, AAHomecare VP of communications and policy, reported that the organization participated in a 90-minute conference call last week with CMS about the competitive bidding program.

The CMS competitive acquisition ombudsman is responsible for collecting and responding to complains about the program and reporting on the program to Congress.

Reinemer said that during the conference call, AAHomecare described multiple problems that have occurred since round 1 went live at the start of this month. AAHomecare reported the following complaints:

  •  Untrained CMS personnel and conflicting and unclear instructions being given to providers and beneficiaries who call the (800) MEDICARE phone line or use the medicare.gov Web site.
  •  Inconsistent regulations on bid and appeal review.
  •  Insufficient timelines once contracts were awarded for grandfathering and subcontracting.
  •  Problems with program transparency, capacity, sustainability and beneficiary access.

AAHomecare is collecting information related to implementation of round 1. Providers interested in giving their feedback can go to biddingfeedback.com or call (888) 990-0499.

AAHomecare is providing separate forms for DME suppliers; physicians and clinicians; case managers, discharge planners and referral sources; and Medicare beneficiaries and caregivers.

The National Association of Independent Medical Equipment Suppliers (NAIMES) reported that information about the program is also being collected at competitivebiddingconcerns.com.

NAIMES’ newsletter last week said AAHomecare, CSIHME, NAIMES and The VGM Group would be coordinating and sharing information gathered from the Web sites and the toll-free phone line.

About the Author

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

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