Moving the HME Industry Forward

Legislative/Advocacy

New Bill Deemed “Big Step in the Right Direction”

June 23, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – The American Association for Homecare saw its advocacy rewarded last week when Reps Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) and John Larson (D-Conn.) for introducing H.R. 4920, the Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Improvement Act of 2014, a new bill that will make Medicare bids binding.

“The American Association for Homecare is proud to work with Congressmen Tiberi [pictured] and Larson as they build support for the Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Improvement Act of 2014,” said Tom Ryan, AAHomecare CEO. “AAHomecare is putting the full weight of the industry behind this practical piece of legislation. All HME providers and manufacturers should immediately visit http://Action.AAHomecare.org/ to ask their elected officials to support H.R. 4920.”

This legislation will make all bids binding and require proof of licensure for the next rounds of bidding. It addresses a major flaw in the program and deters speculative bidding without generating a cost. There are three main provisions in the bill:
• Providers will need to prove licensure before they submit bids.
• When a provider wins a contract, the bid bond transfers to the performance bond that is already required.
• If a provider is offered a contract and declines to sign it, CMS has the option to collect the bond. 

“When bids don’t have to be honoured, the whole process becomes hollow,” said Robert Steedley, president of Barnes Healthcare Services, Inc., and chairman of the AAHomecare Board of Directors. “Requiring binding bids will help bring common sense to the Medicare bidding program. AAHomecare has taken a leadership role on building support for this legislation and I expect a full court press until it is passed.”

“The bill would strongly incentivize more responsible bids because bidders would be required to obtain a bid bond which they would forfeit if they chose not to accept the contract – if the bidder is offered a contract and their bid was at or below the bid price,” said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of Government Relations, Invacare. “It’s standard procedure in any other bid program.”

Click here to tell your elected official to support the Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Improvement Act of 2014.

“The new bill introduced is a big step in the right direction,” enthused Sam Clay, owner of Clay Home Medical, Petersburg, Va. “It will fix several of the worst flaws in the bidding process and get us closer to a level playing field while removing the ‘bad apples.’ It is time for the industry to get behind AAHomecare and mobilize the troops on the ground and get it passed.”

Regina Gillispie, RRT, owner of Best Home Medical, Barboursville, WV, says she would like to see competitive bidding go away entirely, but she acknowledges that probably won’t happen. “My preference is to totally scrap the current process,” she says, “but I know that is wishful thinking.”

“Finally we have legislation that, when passed, initiates restructuring of Medicare’s bid program,” adds Georgie Blackburn, vice president, Government Relations, Blackburn’s, Tarentum, Pa. “Binding bids will improve the complexion of bid outcomes. Hopefully it will be the first of many corrections.”