CMS Delays Competitive Bidding Round 2019

A week after announcing major bid program overhaul, CMS puts the plan back under wraps.

In a surprise, "now you see it, now you don't" move, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has delayed its previously announced competitive bidding Round 2019.

In fact, the Round 2019 plan is back under wraps. CMS went so far as to remove the information it posted to its site on Jan. 31, and instructed the Competitive Bidding Implementation Contractor (CBIC) to remove the information from its website, as well.

Under the original announcement, the Round 2019 plan would have consolidated all rounds and bid areas for the bidding program into a single round of competition. In terms of a timeline, CMS had reported that after Round One 2017, the Round Two Re-compete, and the national mail-order competition conclude on Dec. 31, 2018, the Round 2019 contracts would become effective Jan. 1, 2019, and would run until Dec. 31, 2021.

Major changes to the program included:

  • “Lead item” bidding for a primary item within a group of related equipment. The single payment amount for the items within the group would be based on n the lead item.
  • A $50,000 surety bond requirement for each CBA in which a bidder submits a bid.
  • Ten CBAs were designated for the CPAP devices and related accessories product category only, with five of those new CBAs, requiring payment for the CPAP device, related accessories, and services to be made on a bundled, non-capped monthly rental basis.

Per CMS’s previous announcement, Round 2019 would have included 141 competitive bidding areas, and would have covered 11 product categories. Updates to the categories include the addition of insulin pumps and supplies as a product category to be bid in the national CBA.

A statement from the American Association for Homecare said that the organization applauded “the common-sense decision to carefully examine the bidding program before moving forward with new rounds.”

“We expect the delay will give CMS an opportunity to make a careful assessment of a bidding program that is clearly in need of extensive fixes,” the AAHomecare statement read. “AAHomecare will work to make sure that the industry’s concerns about the bidding program — an initiative that is putting long-time HME companies out of business, reducing beneficiary access, and resulting in reimbursement rates below provider costs — are effectively presented to CMS.”

CMS advised DMEPOS suppliers to watch the and for updates.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher HME Business, DME Pharmacy and Mobility Management magazines. He was Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy from 2008 to 2023. Follow him on LinkedIn at and on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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