AAHomecare Wants Feedback From Providers Still Having Trouble Submitting Bids

The American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare) held a conference call with officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and several other national provider associations regarding continued problems with the competitive bidding system. In order to prepare for a second conference call with CMS planned for Wednesday, AAHomecare wants to hear from providers who are still having trouble submitting a bid.

AAHomecare initiated the first conference call due to overwhelming concerns expressed by its member companies about technical issues related to submitting bids through the online system and also the issue of the consistency of instructions and information available to providers during the course of the bidding process.

During the call, CMS agreed to convene with the provider associations on another call again this Wednesday to review issues associated with the first round of competitive bidding in the initial 10 areas throughout the United States.

To better inform CMS and AAHomecare for that discussion, AAHomecare would like to hear from all DME providers who are bidders in the first round and who 1. are still having problems submitting a bid or 2. have questions about whether their bids were based on consistent information from CMS.

IF your company submitted a bid but received updated guidance after the fact that might have influenced the bid, AAHomecare would like to hear about the details of that situation as well.

AAHomecare is asking comments to be sent directly to the Competitive Bidding Implementation Contractor (CBIC) at cbic.teleconference@palmettogba.comOptional: and cc e-mails to Stacey Harms at AAHomecare: staceyh@aahomecare.org.

Tyler Wilson, AAHomecare president, stressed during the call that the Association's members are concerned that the bidding process take place in an orderly manner to ensure that bidders receive fair consideration. Wilson noted that the basic process of being able to submit a bid has been an extreme challenge for a number of providers, both large and small. Herb Kuhn, acting deputy director of CMS, acknowledged the problems with the bid system during the call and cited them as the reason for the extension in the bidding deadline (to July 27) that CMS announced July 19.

CMS officials said they want to be responsive to providers' bidding problems. However they need to understand the nature and the magnitude of the problems. Therefore, your feedback is important.

The CBIC help desk will be available from 6 a.m. until midnight EST. The CBIC help desk will operate 24 hours a day the last day before bidding closes. Providers can call the help desk at (877) 577-5331. For more information, visit www.dmecompetitivebid.com.

This article originally appeared in the July 2007 issue of HME Business.

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