Controversy Surrounds Latest CMS Medical Equipment Contracts

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) was not accurate when releasing information about Round 2 contracts for durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers as part of the competitive bidding program, according to MedTrade.

In its press release announcing the latest contract winners, CMS said 90% of the chosen DME suppliers are “already established in the competitive bidding area, the product category, or both,” but Kelly Brussell, the vice president of operations at Farmingdale, N.Y.-based HomeCare Concepts, doubts the veracity of that number.

A “significant number” of winning bidders are more than 100 miles outside of the competitive bidding area (CBA) for the contracts they were awarded, while other suppliers “have never had any substantial stake stake in the areas they bid,” according to Brussell, MedTrade reports.

Of the DME suppliers who won CMS contracts in the areas  in New York for which HomeCare Concepts bid, anywhere from 19% up to 65% are more than 100 miles outside of the competitive bidding area, she says.

In another competitive bidding area encompassing Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., only 33% of contracted suppliers are actually in the area, according to officials from the Florida Alliance of Home Care Services cited by MedTrade.

“Medicare’s suggestion that 90% of the contracted suppliers are located in the CBA are simply not true,” FAHCS organizers wrote in an analysis to members. “FAHCS has also proven that CMS failed to meet their mandate to offer at least 30% of the contracts to small suppliers, as only 14% of the contracted suppliers within the CBA were offered contracts.”

While FAHCS says CMS did not meet its mandate to offer a certain amount of contracts to small suppliers, others say some winning DME companies that were awarded contracts for multiple CBAs and product lines are “tiny” and will be unable to fill demand.

“There is no way on God’s green earth that these suppliers can service the CBAs,” Jeff Baird, JD, the chairman of the Health Care Group at Brown & Fortunato, told MedTrade.

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Written by Alyssa Gerace

Alyssa Gerace