Competitive Bidding's Forever Pause
What's the situation with Round 2021 of competitive bidding and what does it mean for pharmacies serving DMEPOS beneficiaries?
- By David Kopf
- Apr 01, 2021
At the end of October, CMS announced that after
originally taking bids for 16 product categories in the 130
competitive bid areas of Round 2021 of its competitive
bidding program, it was only awarding contracts for the off-the-shelf back and knees braces categories. As for the 13
remaining categories, CMS announced it would not issue
contracts because it “did not achieve expected savings.”
For DME pharmacies participating in DMEPOS, that
means that given the last competitive bidding contracts
expired on Dec. 31, 2018, and that the bidding program has since been
dormant, they can continue to provide these 13 categories without contracts.
That seems like an attractive prospect, but it means supplying those items at
reimbursement rates that are essentially frozen at 2018 rates.
Will the HHS and CMS under the Biden Administration steer back toward
competitive bidding? It’s clear that CMS realizes it has reached a bid floor. It
also knows that it’s more expensive for suppliers to deliver care and products
during COVID-19. If competitive bidding makes a return, the pieces on the
board will need to be reset if CMS wants the game to be sustainable.
This article originally appeared in the DME Pharmacy April 2021 issue of HME Business.
David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.