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May 29, 2009 Volume 15, Number 22






CMS Says ‘Get Ready for Competitive Bidding’
BALTIMORE--In an email sent this morning, CMS announced the next steps in its implementation of the Round One rebid of competitive bidding, including the general timeline for opening the bid window in the fall of this year.

According to the notice, the rebid will occur in the following MSAs (same as the first Round One with the exclusion of Puerto Rico):

• Cincinnati – Middletown (Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana)
• Cleveland – Elyria – Mentor (Ohio)
• Charlotte – Gastonia – Concord (North Carolina and South Carolina)
• Dallas – Fort Worth – Arlington (Texas)
• Kansas City (Missouri and Kansas)
• Miami – Fort Lauderdale – Miami Beach (Florida)
• Orlando (Florida)
• Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania)
• Riverside – San Bernadino – Ontario (California)

The rebid will include the following product categories (same as the first Round One except negative pressure wound therapy items and group 3 complex rehabilitative power wheelchairs are excluded):

• Oxygen and Oxygen Equipment
• Standard Power Wheelchairs, Scooters, and Related Accessories
• Complex Rehabilitative Power Wheelchairs and Related Accessories (Group 2 only)
• Mail-Order Replacement Diabetic Supplies
• Enteral Nutrients, Equipment and Supplies
• Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines, Respiratory Assist Devices (RADs), and Related Supplies and Accessories
• Hospital Beds and Related Accessories
• Walkers and Related Accessories
• Support Surfaces (Group 2 mattresses and overlays) (in Miami only)

“Congress mandated that competition for the Round One rebid occur in 2009. CMS is announcing the next steps to implement the DMEPOS competitive bidding program now to give the supplier community ample time to prepare as well as inform other stakeholders,” said Charlene Frizzera, CMS acting administrator, in a release accompanying the announcement. “This program generated substantial savings for Medicare and beneficiaries who used these items and supplies in the competitive bidding areas last summer and is consistent with CMS’ goal to pay appropriately for Medicare items and services.”

CMS will now begin general “pre-bidding” awareness and education efforts on key steps DMEPOS providers need to take now to be ready for registration and bidding, including getting appropriate state licenses, updating Medicare enrollment files with the National Supplier Clearinghouse and getting accredited and bonded, the release said.

The agency reiterated it will convene a meeting of the Program Advisory and Oversight Committee (PAOC) on June 4 before announcing the detailed timeline for the bidding program in the summer.

“The bidder registration period is expected to begin this summer before bidding opens in the fall. CMS has made a number of process improvements for the Round One rebid, such as an upgraded on-line bid submission system, early bidder education and increased oversight of bidders that are new to product categories or competitive bidding areas to ensure they meet CMS’ requirements,” the agency said.

In addition, according to the release, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act excluded certain DMEPOS items and areas from bidding and provided an exemption to the program for hospitals that furnish certain types of DMEPOS items to their own patients. “However, MIPPA did not fundamentally change the nature of the competitive bidding program as established by the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) or the existing competitive bidding regulations that were finalized in 2007.”

For a CMS fact sheet on the bidding program, click here.

Additional information on the DMEPOS competitive bidding program is available at: www.cms.hhs.gov/DMEPOSCompetitiveBid/01_overview.asp#TopOfPage

The email announcement follows in its entirety:

The Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA), enacted on July 15, 2008, made limited changes to the Medicare Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program, including a requirement that competition to re-bid Round 1 occur in 2009. On January 16, 2009, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an interim final rule with comment period that incorporates into regulations only those provisions of MIPPA related to the DMEPOS competitive bidding program that are self-implementing and necessary to conduct the Round 1 rebid competition in 2009. That rule became effective on April 18, 2009. To ensure that suppliers have ample time to prepare for the competition, CMS has announced the following next steps for the program:

SPRING 2009
• CMS BEGINS PRE-BIDDING SUPPLIER AWARENESS CAMPAIGN
• PROGRAM ADVISORY AND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE (PAOC) MEETING (JUNE 4, 2009)

SUMMER 2009
• CMS ANNOUNCES BIDDING SCHEDULE/SCHEDULE OF EDUCATION EVENTS
• CMS BEGINS BIDDER EDUCATION CAMPAIGN
• BIDDER REGISTRATION PERIOD TO OBTAIN USER IDS AND PASSWORDS BEGINS

FALL 2009
• BIDDING BEGINS

If you are a supplier interested in bidding, prepare now – don’t wait!

UPDATE YOUR NSC FILES: DMEPOS supplier standard # 2 requires ALL suppliers to notify the National Supplier Clearinghouse (NSC) of any change to the information provided on the Medicare enrollment application (CMS-855S) within 30 days of the change. DMEPOS suppliers should use the 3/09 version of the CMS-855S and should review and update:

• The list of products and services found in section 2.D;
• The Authorized Official(s) information in sections 6A and 15; and
• The correspondence address in section 2A2 of the CMS-855S.
This is especially important for suppliers who will be involved in the Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program. These suppliers must ensure the information listed on their supplier files is accurate to enable participation in this program. Information and instructions on how to submit a change of information may be found on the NSC Web site (www.palmettogba.com/nsc) and by following this path: Supplier Enrollment/Change of Information/Change of Information Guide.

GET LICENSED: Suppliers submitting a bid for a product category in a competitive bidding area (CBA) must meet all DMEPOS state licensure requirements and other applicable state licensure requirements, if any, for that product category for every state in that CBA. Prior to submitting a bid for a CBA and product category, the supplier must have a copy of the applicable state licenses on file with the NSC. As part of the bid evaluation we will verify with the NSC that the supplier has on file a copy of all applicable required state license(s).

GET ACCREDITED: CMS would like to remind DMEPOS suppliers again that time is running out to obtain accreditation by the September 30, 2009 deadline or risk having their Medicare Part B billing privileges revoked on October 1, 2009. Accreditation takes an average of 6 months to complete. It is very important for DMEPOS suppliers to contact an accreditation organization right away to obtain information about the accreditation process and submit an application. Suppliers must be accredited for a product category in order to submit a bid for that product category. CMS cannot contract with suppliers that are not accredited by a CMS-approved accreditation organization.

Further information on the DMEPOS accreditation requirements along with a list of the accreditation organizations and those professionals and other persons exempted from accreditation may be found at the CMS website: www.cms.hhs.gov/MedicareProviderSupEnroll/01_Overview.asp.

GET BONDED: CMS would like to remind DMEPOS suppliers that certain suppliers will need to obtain and submit a surety bond by the October 2, 2009 deadline or risk having their Medicare Part B billing privileges revoked. Suppliers subject to the bonding requirement must be bonded in order to bid in the DMEPOS competitive bidding program. A list of sureties from which a bond can be secured is found at the Department of the Treasury’s “List of Certified (Surety Bond) Companies;” the Web site is located at: www.fms.treas.gov/c570/c570_a-z.html.

Visit the CMS Web site for the latest information on the DMEPOS competitive bidding program.


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