Law­mak­ers call for probe of Medi­care bid­ding pro­gram

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS - — Rachel Lan­den

U.S. Reps. Glenn Thomp­son (R-Pa.) and Bruce Bra­ley (D-Iowa) want HHS In­spec­tor Gen­eral Daniel Levin­son to in­ves­ti­gate the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the sec­ond round of Medi­care’s com­pet­i­tive-bid­ding pro­gram for durable med­i­cal equip­ment, pros­thet­ics, or­thotics and sup­plies. Thomp­son and Bra­ley pre­vi­ously rounded up 227 House mem­bers from both par­ties to sign a let­ter ask­ing CMS Ad­min­is­tra­tor Mar­i­lyn Taven­ner to hold off on the July 1 launch be­cause of prob­lems with the ex­e­cu­tion. “We be­lieve that com­pet­i­tive bid­ding can work, but only with sig­nif­i­cant changes,” they wrote in their re­quest to Levin­son. The law­mak­ers also pointed to im­proper vet­ting of sup­pli­ers, a lack of trans­parency, the ab­sence of bind­ing bids dur­ing the con­tract process, and vi­o­la­tions of state li­cen­sure and ac­cred­i­ta­tion re­quire­ments af­fect­ing bids, par­tic­u­larly in Ohio, Mary­land, Michi­gan and Ten­nessee. Taven­ner has con­ceded that the CMS awarded con­tracts to ap­prox­i­mately 30 sup­pli­ers (out of 98 to­tal) that did not meet Ten­nessee li­cens­ing re­quire­ments. Taven­ner told Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) that those con­tracts would be voided but that “given the large num­ber of in-state sup­pli­ers … (the CMS is) con­fi­dent that ben­e­fi­cia­ries will con­tinue to have ac­cess to a wide va­ri­ety of qual­ity items and ser­vices in the state.” Thomp­son and Bra­ley, though, ar­gue that those 30 sup­pli­ers un­der­mined the pay­ment set by the bid­ding process.

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