Moving the HME Industry Forward

Legislative/Advocacy

Legislative Update – 34 Senators Urge Review Prior to CB Expansion

May 26, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators John Thune (R-South Dakota) [pictured], Robert Casey (D-Pennsylvania), and John Hoeven (R-North Dakota) led a bipartisan group of 34 Senators in sending a letter to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner urging CMS to hold off on expanding the competitive bidding program until the HHS OIG can examine the round two bidding process.

Following the implementation of round one competitive bidding, a number of concerns were raised, including lack of transparency, improper financial vetting of contract firms, and design flaws. These concerns prompted Congress to mandate that CMS re-bid round one in the nine selected metropolitan areas.

According to a press release issued by Thune’s office, the letter requests that CMS wait until the OIG has published its review of round two before expanding the program nationwide.

The senators write, “We appreciate that CMS is requesting input before moving forward, especially given the impact competitive bidding prices could have on rural areas. In these remote areas, DMEPOS are especially vital and necessary to resident beneficiaries, and we question whether an apples-to-apples comparison with urban areas is the best approach… Before you move forward in implementing competitive bidding nationally, we request that you allow the OIG to complete their investigation on competitive bidding licensure problems and verification of Round 2 single payment amounts and give Congress time to review the results.”

Thune, Casey, and Hoeven were joined in sending the letter by the following Senators:
• Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee);
• Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire);
• Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin);
• Michael Bennet (D-Colorado);
• Roy Blunt (R-Missouri);
• Richard Burr (R-North Carolina);
• Ben Cardin (D-Maryland);
• Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia);
• Dan Coats (R-Indiana);
• Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi);
• Mike Crapo (R-Idaho);
• Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana);
• Mike Enzi (R-Wyoming);
• Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska);
• Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa);
• Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota);
• Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii);
• Jim Inhofe (R-Oklahoma);
• Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia);
• Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska);
• Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota);
• Angus King (I-Maine);
• Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia);
• Jerry Moran (R-Kansas);
• Rob Portman (R-Ohio);
• Pat Roberts (R-Kansas);
• Marco Rubio (R-Florida);
• Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii);
• Tim Scott (R-South Carolina);
• Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania);
• Mark Udall (D-Colorado);
• David Vitter (R-Louisiana); and
• Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi).

Save My Medical Supplies Movement Gains Ground
WASHINGTON, DC – The remarkable collection of resources and stories at www.SaveMyMedicalSupplies.org continues to gain ground industry-wide. The site is an excellent place to send patients who are looking to vent their frustrations about the competitive bidding program. The site also gives providers and patients a way to send an email to Representatives and Senators with the click of just a button. Users can leave the form letter as-is, or take the opportunity to tell their own story of how loved ones have been impacted by Medicare reform mistakes. SaveMyMedicalSupplies.org is an educational resource for Medicare beneficiaries, created by the American Association for Homecare and its supporting membership of HME providers who serve communities across the US.