Various stakeholders in Washington DC are preparing to help shape the next stages of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS).
Tuesday, March 17, is the deadline for submitting comments to CMS about the interim final rule on the bidding program. The interim final rule is meant to address recent changes to the bidding program that were made after congress voted to delay implementation of the program. CMS’s next step will be to begin moving the program forward again on or after April 15, when it will solicit bids for Round 1 of the program.
However, according to HME Newswire, Sen. Arlen Specter, (R-PA) has attempted to thwart the rule’s implementation by sending a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services that asks Acting Secretary Charles Johnson to rescind the rule.
Seth Johnson, vice president of government affairs for Pride Mobility Products Corp, Exeter, Pennsylvania, was quoted as saying.”[Specter] believes the rule should be rescinded to give the administration time to analyze the program. He’s concerned-he has heard from providers about how Round 1 impacted them and their patients.” The American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare) has also announced a lobbying, government-negotiation, and public-relations campaign to eliminate the competitive bidding program altogether.
On the opposing side, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), chairman of the Health Subcommittee of the Senate Finance Committee, has announced plans to hold an April 1 hearing on the program. Rockefeller is described by HME Newswire as “one of a handful of senators who wrote letters last summer against delaying competitive bidding.” AAHomecare has announced that it has asked to testify at the hearing.
Wayne Stanfield, president of the National Association of Independent Medical Equipment Suppliers (NAIMES), was quoted as saying, “From that, we can presume that the discussions during this hearing will not be in favor of eliminating or further delaying the program.” Walt Gorski, NAIMES vice president of government affairs, said
“This hearing will require us to, like at the Small Business Committee hearing in February, once again make our case that this program is fatally flawed and needs to be abolished.”
To submit comments about the interim final rule, visit www.regulations.gov and enter file code CMS-1561-IFC.