DME Bidding Program Seen as Success; Further Study Urged

Jessica Zigmond | | May 9, 2012

The first year of the CMS' durable medical-equipment competitive-bidding program was successful, but more experience with competitive bidding is needed to learn if there are access problems for beneficiaries, a new federal report found.

Government Accountability Office investigators analyzed data from the CMS to examine the so-called competitive bidding program first round rebid. Four years ago, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act ended the first round of supplier contracts and required the CMS to repeat the competitive-bidding program's first round in January 2011.

The new GAO report concluded that the number of bidding suppliers and the number of contracts awarded in the rebid were similar to those in the first round, and that about a third of the 1,011 suppliers in the rebid were awarded at least one competitive-bidding program contract. Meanwhile, the CMS provided additional information about reasons for disqualification, and “significantly fewer bids were disqualified than in round one,” the report noted...