By Robert Slavkin
On August 3, 2009, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the sixty-day supplier bidding period will begin in late October for the Round One Rebid of the Medicare Competitive Bidding Program for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS). By way of background, the Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program was established by the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA). Round One of the program was originally slated to be implemented on July 1, 2008, in ten competitive bidding areas (CBA). As part of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA) enacted on July 15, 2008, Congress delayed the Competitive Bidding Program and mandated limited changes in the program. MIPPA required CMS to terminate contracts that had been awarded for Round One and to rebid the contracts in 2009. MIPPA also delayed bidding for contracts for Round Two of the program in a scheduled seventy additional service areas until 2011.
Originally, CMS had identified ten CBAs in which Round One of the Program would be rolled out. Under the Rebid, CMS has identified nine CBAs. They are:
The equipment to be included in the Round One Rebid is the same as the original program, except that negative pressure wound therapy items and Group Three complex rehabilitative power wheelchairs will be excluded. The equipment included in the Round One Rebid is as follows:
CMS started a supplier awareness effort in May to prepare suppliers for the registration period that begins later this month. Suppliers must register before they may submit bids when bidding starts in October. CMS is also launching an extensive education and outreach effort to guide suppliers through the competitive bidding process. Supplier outreach will intensify in the coming weeks with a series of bidders' conferences focusing on program information, registration and bidding that will be announced on the web site.
CMS has stated that the DMEPOS competitive bidding program, combined with Medicare's accreditation and quality standard requirements, will help to ensure that high-quality items and services continue to be available to beneficiaries who need medical equipment and supplies.
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