There is bipartisan support in Congress for a delay in accelerating CMS' competitive-bidding program for durable medical equipment, the Associated Press reports. There is support in theory for the program, in which vendors bid against each other rather than having the government pay a set fee for each product that gets updated annually. But industry believes that implementation of a pilot program has had unintended consequences, and quite a few members of Congress agree.

June 9, 2008

1 Min Read
Industry Helping to Scale Back Competitive-Bidding Programs

Part of the problem is that some vendors were disqualified for submitting insufficient financial information, without being told of the shortcoming until it was too late. Another problem is that some winners have no history of serving the patient populations whose services they bid for, leading to concerns about quality. And of course there are concerns that small vendors will be forced out of business because they can't compete on price and volume alone.Similar complaints have been levied against a competitive-bidding program for clinical laboratory services, which was halted by a federal judge in April. Now, Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has introduced a bill that would repeal it altogether. It would also squelch a 10% cut in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule planned for July 1, and delay a billing reform for 18 months.

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