Medicare Revamps Competitive Bidding Program

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is preparing to revive competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment that industry members helped sink last summer when it was originally scheduled to take effect, CQ HealthBeat reports. The agency had anticipated a 26 percent savings for wheelchairs, oxygen tanks and other pieces of equipment through the program. But a lobbying group for the suppliers, the American Association for Homecare, successfully urged Congress to shut down the program before it went into effect.

Now the group is doing it again. The association "predicts that resumption of the program will have the same impact as the first round of bidding, which it said would have radically thinned the ranks of suppliers in the participating markets before Congress blew the whistle on the program and ordered changes," CQ reports (Reichard, 6/2).

McKnight's Long-Term Care News reports that CMS has improved the program with new on-line bid submission and oversight features (6/2).

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