The gavel has come down on next steps for the Competitive Bidding program as CMS has issued notice for a Recompete of both Round 2 and National Mail Order contracts. The original Round 2 and NMO contracts are in effect until June 30, 2016. Speculation has been circulating concerning what CMS’ next steps for the program would be since the issuance of a request for comment on a nationwide competitive bidding program in February 2014. While the most recent announcement shifts focus toward the Recompete process, we fully expect the Nationwide Competitive Bidding effort to move forward in the days ahead via a separate notification process.
While most aspects of the program will remain the same for the Round 2 Recompete (R2RC), there were some minor, notable tweaks. For example, Round 2 encompassed a total of 91 Metropolitan Service Areas (MSAs) with 100 Competitive Bid Areas (CBAs) to sub divide the larger MSAs. However, for the Recompete there will be 90 MSAs and 117 CBAs; 16 of the MSAs in R2RC are divided into multiple CBAs to break up the expansive metropolitan areas and to avoid multiple-state bid areas. Additionally, any zip code changes that have taken place since Round 2 implementation have been translated into the R2RC zones.
As for products, the R2RC has been updated to reflect much of what we saw with the R1RC. Many categories have now been grouped rather than broken out for individual bid. Under the R2RC Oxygen, CPAP, RADs and their related supplies and accessories have been grouped together into the Respiratory Equipment and Related Supplies and Accessories category. Nebulizers which were grouped into the respiratory category for R1RC, have now been broken out into their own bid category for the R2RC.
Hospital beds and Group 1 and 2 support surfaces have been grouped together under the General Home Equipment and Related Supplies and Accessories category, which now includes three new products (commode chairs, patient lifts and seat lifts). Under Round 1 Recompete TENS units were grouped into this General product category, however, for the Round 2 Recompete TENS devices and supplies will be included in an independent category for bid.
Walkers, which were previously a stand-alone product category, have now been pushed into the Standard Mobility Equipment and Related Accessories category. This category now encompasses walkers, standard power and manual wheelchairs, scooters, and related accessories. The product category we do not see up for bid in this round which was included with the R1RC is External Infusion Pumps; CMS has indicated that this product will not be bid in the R2RC. See below for a full R2RC product list:
- Enteral Nutrition, Equipment and Supplies
- General Home Equipment and Related Supplies and Accessories (hospital beds and related accessories, group 1 and 2 support surfaces, commode chairs, patient lifts, and seat lifts)
- Nebulizers and Related Supplies
- NPWT Pumps, Related Supplies and Accessories
- Respiratory Equipment and Related Supplies and Accessories (oxygen, oxygen equipment and supplies; CPAP devices; RADs; and related supplies and accessories)
- Standard Mobility Equipment and Related Accessories (walkers, standard power and manual wheelchairs, scooters, and all related accessories)
- TENS Devices and Supplies
The National Mail Order program will also be subject to Recompete at the same time as Round 2 with no notable changes to that program.
With the announcement, CMS also issued important dates for all suppliers to consider. The bidding schedule will be announced this Fall. During this time, suppliers that wish to participate in the bidding program will begin the registration process to obtain a User ID and password. The actual bidding for the Recompete will not begin until winter of 2015; therefore suppliers will have roughly a year to prepare for the formal bidding process. Those who are currently contracted under Round 2 will be eligible to participate in the Recompete as long as all requirements are met for bidding. This is a new opportunity for suppliers that were not awarded a contract under Round 2 to participate in the newest round for contracting.
In order to be eligible to participate in the bidding process suppliers must have an accurate record with the Provider Enrollment, Chain and Ownership System and the National Supplier Clearinghouse. All participating bidders must be licensed for the product that they wish to supply in the state in which they are bidding in prior to submitting a bid. Additionally, all locations the supplier intends to offer product from must be accredited by a CMS approved accrediting organization for the items that they provide in a product category. All other standard bidding rules will apply – more information on those rules can be found on the CBIC website at www.dmecompetitivebid.com.