The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) unveiled operational details for the next stage in a program that sets new, lower payment rates for certain medical devices and supplies including CPAP equipment. CMS also launched an education program to help guide suppliers through the competitive bidding process.

The Medicare Competitive Bidding Program for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) was expanded by the Affordable Care Act and is estimated to save Medicare, seniors, and taxpayers more than $28 billion over 10 years. So far in 2011, the first phase of the program has saved Medicare 35% compared to the fee schedule and resulted in lower cost for Medicare patients.

The first phase of the program was implemented for nine product categories in nine areas of the country on January 1, 2011. To date, CMS monitoring data have shown a successful implementation with no changes in beneficiary health status. CMS has now released the detailed schedule for Round 2 bidding. Registration will begin on December 5, and the 60-day supplier bidding period will begin in late January 2012.

Round 2 expands the program to 91 additional metropolitan areas, and the new prices are expected to take effect on July 1, 2013.

The “target dates,” as stated on the Competitive Bidding Implementation Contractor (CBIC) Web site, are

• 12/5/2011: Registration for user IDs and passwords begins
• 12/22/2011: Authorized Officials are strongly encouraged to register no later than this date
• 1/12/2012: Backup Authorized Officials are strongly encouraged to register no later than this date
• 1/30/2012: CMS opens 60-day bid window for Round 2 and National Mail-Order Competitions
• 2/9/2012: Registration closes
• 2/29/2012: Covered Document Review Date for bidders to submit financial documents
• 3/30/2012: 60-day bid window closes
• Fall 2012: CMS announces single payment amounts, begins contracting process
• Spring 2013: CMS announces contract suppliers, begins contract supplier education campaign
• Spring 2013: CMS begins supplier, referral agent, and beneficiary education campaign
• July 1, 2013: Implementation of Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program Round 2 and National Mail-Order Competition contracts and prices

The bidder education program is designed to guide suppliers through the competitive bidding process and will feature numerous

Will round two CB impact your facility/patients? If so, how? Join the discussion at Sleep Review‘s LinkedIn page

enhancements such as improved Request for Bids instructions, updated fact sheets, and a series of webcasts that suppliers will be able to view at their convenience.

“We have considered feedback from many stakeholders to implement process improvements to make the competitive bidding program even stronger,” said Jonathan Blum, deputy CMS administrator and director of the Center for Medicare. “In addition to the enhancements we’ve made to our bidder education program, we will be strengthening our rigorous bid evaluation process by increasing our scrutiny of bids.”