Editor’s Note: Round 2021 — Here We Go!

The Round 2021 bid window opening is fast approaching. Are you ready? If not, there are a wealth of resources available to bring you up to speed.

As I write this, registration for Round 2021 of competitive bidding is well underway (having started a little more than a month ago on June 10), and the bid window is just five days away from opening on July 16.

Moreover, there are more key dates to keep in mind:

  • Aug. 16 — DBidS registration closes (Connexion registration always remains open).
  • Aug. 19 — Covered document review date for bidders to upload financial documents in Connexion.
  • Sept. 18 — Bid window closes.
  • Fall — Preliminary bid evaluation notification.
  • Summer 2020 — CMS announces single payment amounts and begins contracting process.
  • Fall 2020 — CMS announces contract suppliers.
  • Jan. 1 2021 — Implementation of Round 2021 contracts and prices.

Let me underscore two of the dates: In five days, on July 16, the bid window opens and on Sept. 18 the bid window closes.

So, are you ready? Are you sure you’re ready? Competitive bidding Round 2021 departs from previous rounds in several key ways. Here are three top-line changes:

  • It uses lead item pricing, which means the single payment amount (SPA) for the lead item in each product category is based on the maximum or highest amount bid for the item by suppliers in the winning range. The SPAs for all other items in that category are then based on a percentage of that maximum winning lead item bid.
  • Round 2021 now covers 16 product categories, including off-the-shelf (OTS) back braces, OTS knee braces, and non-invasive ventilators.
  • Bidders must obtain a $50,000 bid surety bond from an authorized surety bond company.

These are some big changes that entail a bit of a learning curve. Fortunately, there are various resource for you to learn more. For starters, you haven’t yet, point your web browser at dmecbpeducation.com. The American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare), the Council for Quality Respiratory Care, and the VGM Group came together to create this site to better prepare for Round 2021, and the site delivers in that regard.

Not only does dmecbpeducation.com provide reams of information on Round 2021, but it also provides calculators offers a calculator at dmecbpeducation.com/bid-calculator that uses CBIC’s lead item ratios, but add features that include contextual information, such as rates currently in effect. This helps providers see how lead item bids compare to rates for non-lead items in both dollar amount and by percentage.

In addition to those calculators, the VGM Group recently expanded its bidding calculators to help providers better see how prospective bid amounts could impact their businesses.

Created by Craig Douglas, vice president of payer and member relations for VGM, the calculators let providers enter their entire book of business, rather than a single code, along with their bid amounts in order to see how their revenues will be impacted. To access the calculators, visit vgmdclink.com/resource-center/resources.

Another key offering from  dmecbpeducation.com is an archived Bid Smart Webinar on Round 2021. This was presented by Cara Bachenheimer, head of the Government Affairs Practice at Brown & Fortunato; Kim Brummett, vice president of Regulatory Affairs for American Association for Homecare; and Mark J. Higley, vice president Regulatory Affairs for VGM Group Inc.

Better yet, while you might have missed the June 5 Bid Smart 2019 Summit in Nashville, those same speakers will be hosting another day-long Round 2021 summit in Irving, Texas on Aug. 27. You can learn more about that by clicking here.

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 linkedin.com/in/dkopf/ and on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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