CMS: Medicare competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment expanding after successful first year

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is set to offer more than 14,500 contracts in the second round of its competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment and supplies.

Scheduled to begin July 1, the next round will expand the program significantly, from nine non-metropolitan areas to 91 areas that will include the major urban centers of New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago.

CMS hailed the first round as a success during a call with reporters Wednesday. By replacing fee schedules with prices determined through competition, the bidding process resulted in savings for beneficiaries, taxpayers and the Medicare program, said Jonathan Blum, deputy CMS administrator and director of the CMS Center for Medicare.

The bidding process has not resulted in any adverse clinical impacts on beneficiaries, including those in skilled nursing care, Blum said, although groups such as the National Association for the Support of Long-Term Care say it's caused service interruptions in facilities.

CMS expects Round 2 to save the Medicare Part B Trust Fund $25.7 billion.

Oxygen equipment, wheelchairs and walkers, CPAP devices and negative pressure wound therapy pumps are among the products included in Round 2 bidding.

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