Support Grows for Legislation to Improve Medicare Competitive Bidding

A new piece of proposed legislation that would reform the Medicare competitive bidding program to make it more equitable is being met with positive reception among government officials and industry leaders. 

The Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Improvement Act, H.R. 4920, if passed, would make bids from suppliers to provide durable medical equipment, prosthetic and orthotic devices and supplies (DMEPOS) binding under the Medicare bidding program. 

The legislation would amend a section of the Social Security Act, and is sponsored by Congressmen Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) and John Larson (D-Conn.). 

The bill would require state licensure and a bid and surety bond of at least $50,000 for each area for bidding entities under the DMEPOS competitive acquisition program.

“The current bid process is flawed,” Congressman Tiberi tells HomeCare magazine in a recent article. “Auction experts agree that it encourages lowball bidding and will lead to market failure. This bill would reduce the number of bad actors participating in the program by imposing a penalty if the supplier does not accept a contract, promoting fairness among suppliers. Removing bad actors from the process would encourage higher quality equipment, supplies and services for seniors.” 

The California Association of Medical Products Suppliers has voiced its support of the new bill, HomeCare magazine reports.

“This legislation would bring sanity to the competitive bidding process by requiring that bidders only be allowed to submit a binding bid,” says Bob Achermann, executive director of the California Association of Medical Products Suppliers and member of the AAHomecare State Leaders Council. “The industry has consistently pointed out the flaws in the current bidding process and H.R. 4920 would correct one of those major deficiencies.” 

In some circumstances, Medicare beneficiaries have encountered difficulties in acquiring new devices such as power wheelchairs in their area due to a number of providers that were not able to secure winning bids to serve certain geographical areas. 

In August of last year, Landauer Healthcare Holdings, Inc. and its affiliates filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on August 16, citing the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) competitive bidding process as a contributing factor to its financial struggles along with a failed sale to competitor Allcare.

Read the Home Care magazine article here

Written by Cassandra Dowell