Audit and Binding Bids Bills Gain More Ground

H.R. 5083 reaches 8 co-sponsors and H.R. 4920 now at 24 backers as industry approaches prime lobbying opportunity.

Two pieces of legislation recently introduced into the House, one to reform audits and the other to reform competitive bidding, both continue to gain ground as Congress approaches its August recess.

H.R. 4920, known as the binding bids bill, would make all bids binding and would require providers to obtain bonds before bidding. Reps. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) and John Larson (D-Conn.) introduced the legislation in late June. The bill picked up three additional co-sponsors since last week, bringing its total number of backers to 24 Representatives.

The new H.R. 4920 co-sponsors are:

  • Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.)
  • Rep. James Langevin (D-R.I.)
  • Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-Pa.)

H.R. 5083, known as the Audit Improvement and Reform Act (aka, the AIR Act), was unveiled late last week by Representatives Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) and John Barrow (D-Ga.). The bill aims to address key problems with Medicare’s unchecked audit system by boosting transparency within the program; providing better education and outreach; and rewarding suppliers that have low error rates on audited claims.

The bill picked up two new backers, bringing its total of co-sponsors to eight. The new backers are:

  • Rep. Christopher Gibson (R-N.Y.)
  • Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.)

 

Meanwhile H.R. 1717, which calls to replace competitive bidding with the industry’s Market Pricing Program sill sits at 180 co-sponsors. The bill which was introduced into the House by Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) in April 2013.

The two new bills, H.R. 4920 and H.R. 5083 are beginning to pick up steam just as both houses of Congress prepare for their August recess, when Representatives and Senators return to their district offices. This provides the industry with  key lobbying opportunity to drive the bills.

“[H.R. 4920] is going to be a piece of legislation that’s going to get lobbied hard during the August recess, period, in order to put us in the best possible position for advancement this year,” said Seth Johnson, vice president of government affairs for Pride Mobility Products Corp.

“Now’s the time to make appointments and get support back in the district,” said AAHomecare president and CEO Tom Ryan. “We’ll be working with our State Leaders Council to make the month of August the month to see your legislator.”

A key strategy for H.R. 4920 during the recess will be to win converts from H.R. 1717 over to the new bill, which shouldn’t be easy, given that the binding bids bill represents one portion of the larger MPP legislation.

“Look at your legislators, see who’s signed on to H.R. 1717, thank them for their support of that, and say that essentially by singing on to H.R. 4920 they’re singing on to what they’ve already supported, it’s just a more succinct fit,” Ryan says. “When you start to see that number of co-sponsors break 100 … that’s a good way to build momentum.”

Look for “New Ideas: Rethinking the fight against competitive bidding,” which providers
a deeper analysis of H.R. 4920 and the industry’s strategic shift in the fight against competitive bidding, in the August edition of HME-Business.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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