CMS Removes Non-Invasive Ventilators From Round 2021

Attributing the decision to COVID-19 as well as other factors, NIVs will not be part of Round 2021, and any DMEPOS supplier can provide the devices, as well as any other ventilator types covered by Medicare.

Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, CMS has removed non-invasive ventilators (NIV) from Round 2021 of competitive bidding.

In March of 2019, CMS announced that part of the changes brought with Round 2021 would be the addition of NIVs to the round, which immediately drew industry concern. This was followed by Congressional sign-on letters calling on CMS to reverse the addition, but CMS essentially turned a deaf ear to those concerns. This led to the introduction of H.R. 4945, which called for the removal of NIVs from competitive bidding.

By removing NIVs from Round 2021 of competitive bidding, any Medicare-enrolled DMEPOS supplier can provide any of the types of ventilators covered under the Medicare program, including NIVs.

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, CMS also said its decision was due to President Trump’s exercise of the Defense Production Act; the public concern over access to ventilators; and the NIV product category being new to competitive bidding.

CMS added in a public statement that for Round 2021 bidders whose only bid in a competitive bidding area(s) was for the NIV product category, the bid surety bond for the applicable CBA(s) does not meet the forfeiture conditions and will not be collected by CMS.

CMS will issue appropriate notice to the applicable bidders and sureties.

"CMS is making the right call at the right time in removing non-invasive vents from the next round of competitive bidding," said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of the American Association for Homecare. "This decisive action will help maintain patient access to these essential devices both during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.  The HME community is doing all we can to provide effective care and reduce the extraordinary burdens hospitals are facing, and CMS is helping us achieve that mission through both this important policy change and through provisions in the recent COVID-19 Interim Final Rule."

C"This is a great start and gets us headed in the right direction," noted Clint Geffert, president of VGM & Associates. "Removing NIVs from the Competitive Bidding Program helps maintain access to critical, complex equipment. DME suppliers can now have piece of mind as they navigate this PHE and beyond. Thank you to everyone and their efforts over the past year to help make this happen. This was a team effort as an industry united together to listen to all of our members' needs."

Providers with any questions should call the Competitive Bidding Implementation Contractor (CBIC) customer service center at (877) 577-5331 between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

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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