CMS to start durable medical equipment bidding process following delay

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Guest Columns: Nursing homes and family stress
Guest Columns: Nursing homes and family stress
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has begun the process of reinstating the controversial competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS). The agency on Thursday issued an interim regulation with a comment period covering the bidding program.

The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA) delayed the competitive bidding process, which had been scheduled to start July 1, 2008. The law required CMS to terminate existing contracts that were awarded during the first round of the bidding process, and set up exemptions for certain suppliers of DMEPOS, and hospitals that supply durable medical equipment to their own patients. The new CMS guidelines will take into account these requirements. CMS will also convene a Federal Advisory Committee to govern the bidding process.

When MIPPA was passed over the summer of 2008, nursing homes were in favor of halting the competitive bidding program because they believed it unfairly cut out smaller suppliers from the process. CMS has said it will continue releasing information on the revamped bidding process over the next few months.

For more information on the new regulations, visit http://www.cms.hhs.gov/DMEPOSCompetitiveBid/01_overview.asp.