Competitive Bidding

Medicare's unsustainable bidding program for home medical equipment hurts patients and providers.

Medicare's so-called “competitive” bidding program for HME is having disastrous effects on both providers and their patients. Congress must act now to stop the spread of bidding to rural areas and keep this program from further decimating the home medical equipment safety net that supports some of our most vulnerable patient populations.  Read more about the background of the program in The History of the Competitive Bidding Program.

Resources for Grassroots Action

Take Action Today!  Send an email to Congress here supporting common-sense fixes to lessen the impact of CMS' plans to apply bidding derived rates to rural communities and other areas not in competitive bidding areas.  Here are additional resources to help with your your lobbying and advocacy efforts:

S. 2736/Competitive Bidding Rural Relief/Bid-Ceiling Fix Legislation Issue Brief

Regional Charts Detailing Rate Reduction by HCPCS Competitive Bidding Zip Code Analysis CB Regional and Rural Comparison PLAINS CB Regional and Rural Comparison SOUTHWEST CB Regional and Rural Comparison ROCKY MTN CB Regional and Rural Comparison MIDEAST CB Regional and Rural Comparison FAR WEST CB Regional and Rural Comparison SOUTHEAST CB Regional and Rural Comparison NEW ENGLAND CB Regional and Rural Comparison GREAT LAKES

Medicare Spending Chart

CMS Plans Plans Fresh Cuts Through Competitive Bidding-Derived Pricing for Rural and Non-bid Areas

Medicare's so-called “competitive” bidding program for HME is having disastrous effects on both providers and their patients. Congress must act now to stop the spread of bidding to rural areas and keep this program from further decimating the home medical equipment safety net that supports some of our most vulnerable patient populations.  Read more about the background of the program in The History of the Competitive Bidding Program.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released rules which will reduce the prices in many home medical equipment categories nationwide based on prices derived from their badly-flawed competitive bidding program that is currently established in larger metropolitan areas around the country.

While it may seem reasonable to attempt to normalize costs for providers who are not included in these bidding areas, this new move by CMS will be especially burdensome for patients and home medical equipment providers in rural, less densely populated areas. 

In addition, while CMS’ bidding program for HME has largely turned out to be a train-wreck in the areas in which it’s been implemented, at least the companies that won their bids in this program were guaranteed a larger market share in conjunction with these reduced prices.  It is dangerous to saddle providers outside these bid areas with these bid-derived rates without a chance to bid, or without the benefit of increased market share – especially since many of these rural providers face higher delivery and associated service/repair costs based on greater distances in the areas they serve.

AAHomecare supports S.2736, the Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment Act of 2016, recently-introduced legislation on Capitol Hill that will provide relief for rural, non-bid-area HME patients and providers by:

  • Delaying the next round of cuts for rural and non-bid areas set to take place on July 1 for 15 months, so that CMS can properly assess the impact of the first round of cuts implemented on Jan. 1 of this year.
  • Setting the ceiling for future bidding rounds of the competitive bidding program at the unadjusted fee schedule rates in effect on January 1, 2015, instead of CMS’ proposal to set a bid ceiling at the previous bid amount rates.
  • Instructing CMS to revisit pricing adjustments for non-bid areas that takes into account travel distance, and other associated costs furnishing this equipment for prices that will be in effect on January 1, 2019.

More on this legislation can be found here: S. 2736/Competitive Bidding Rural Relief/Bid-Ceiling Fix Legislation Issue Brief

Don’t let CMS double down on their badly designed competitive bidding system by applying these rate cuts to companies that don’t even get a chance to participate in the bidding.  Tell Congress we need a fix to the expansion of the bidding program today!

Take action, and spread the word with our easy-to-use grassroots tools:

We need Congressional offices to be hearing from their constituents on this issue. Numbers matter. Calls and emails educate policymakers, apply pressure, and swing key legislators to our side.

  • HME suppliers, manufacturers and other stateholders in our industry should go to action.aahomecare.org to send a message.

Forward action.aahomecare.org to everyone you work with and explain that our friends and colleagues businesses and livelihood are on the line - no one is immune from the impacts of these cuts. Ask them to visit the site and send an email to Congress telling them to stop the cuts.

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