CMS Releases Initial Round 2021 Details

Information released on revised competitive bidding program includes important dates, bid areas, product categories, and structural changes to the program.

CMS has released initial details for the next round of its competitive bidding program, which is slated to begin in January 2021, and the program incorporates some significant changes in terms of structural changes, bid areas, schedule and product categories.

In terms of timing, CMS says it expects the temporary bidding gap that began on Jan. 1 to continue for two years until Dec. 31, 2020.  When Round 2021 begins, the program will consolidate both the Round One and Round Two competitive bidding areas (CBAs) into 130 CBAs that will cover the same geographic area as those earlier rounds.

Per a timeline listed on the Competitive Bidding Implementation Contractor (CBIC), the bid window should open this summer. Key agenda items for 2019:

  • March 7 — CMS begins pre-bidding supplier awareness program.
  • May — CMS announces dates for registration and bidding and launches bidder education.
  • June — Bidder registration period to obtain user IDs and passwords begins; the bid window opens.

The bidding program has notably changed the product categories to more narrow groups, but more categories overall. Round 2021 now covers 16 product categories, with newcomers to the program including off-the-shelf (OTS) back braces, OTS knee braces, and non-invasive ventilators. Where OTS back and knee braces are concerned, CMS provides additional detail on the description of these items on its recent statement regarding Round 2021.

The full list:

  • Commode chairs.
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices and respiratory assist devices (RADs).
  • Enteral nutrition.
  • Hospital beds.
  • Nebulizers.
  • Negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) pumps.
  • Non-invasive ventilators.
  • OTS back braces.
  • OTS knee braces.
  • Oxygen and oxygen equipment.
  • Patient lifts and seat lifts.
  • Standard manual wheelchairs.
  • Standard power mobility devices.
  • Support surfaces (Groups 1 and 2).
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) devices.
  • Walkers.

Round 2021 will also include recent structural changes secured through the final ESRD/DMEPOS rule and other legislative and regulatory changes, such as:

  • The lead item pricing methodology.
  • Single payment amounts (SPAs) using maximum winning bids.
  • Bidders must obtain a $50,000 bid surety bond from an authorized surety bond company.
  • Now, when bidders forget to upload a required financial document, it will receive a zero score for it, rather than being automatically disqualified.
  • Each provider location on a bid must meet all accreditation and state licensing requirements for every item in the product category.
  • Round 2021 will not include a national mail-order program for diabetes testing supplies.

Lastly, providers whose contract for the Round Two Recompete, national mail-order Recompete or Round One 2017 was terminated and who were ultimately precluded from participating in the next round of bidding aren’t permitted to participate in Round 2021. The Competitive Bidding Implementation Contractor will send a reminder letter to all precluded suppliers before bidding begins for Round 2021.

About the Author

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

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