Last week the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the new timeline for the program, with bidding scheduled to begin in the Fall of 2009. In response to the brief timeline, AAHomecare expressed disappointment that the Obama administration is rushing to re-implement the deeply flawed “competitive” bidding program for home medical equipment and services.
AAHomecare believes this troubled program is moving forward without addressing the many severe problems that prompted Congress to mandate reform of the program last summer. Disability groups, patients, providers, and even members of Congress expressed concern with aspect of the program. Moving forward with competitive bidding at this time represents a big step backwards for the Medicare beneficiaries who receive services.
The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA) required a delay in the bid program to allow CMS to reform it. CMS is encouraging providers to begin preparing for the bidding process by updating NSC files, obtaining all necessary licenses, and becoming accredited and bonded. CMS issued the following rough timetable:
• CMS begins pre-bidding supplier awareness campaign
• Program Advisory and Oversight Committee (PAOC) meeting on June 4, 2009 in Baltimore
• CMS announces schedules for bidding and education events
• CMS begins bidder education campaign
• Registration period begins for bidders to obtain user identification and passwords
• Bidding begins
Visit the CMS web site at www.cms.hhs.gov/CompetitiveAcqforDMEPOS/ for the details on the bidding program.