- Durable medical equipment manufacturers will have an extra month to prepare bids for the 2021 competitive bidding program, CMS announced Tuesday.
- The bidding window for Medicare DME is now scheduled to open July 16, 2019, a change from the previously announced June timeline. CMS said its decision to push back the bid window aims to provide bidders additional time to prepare. The bid window is scheduled to close September 18, 2019.
- The Competitive Bidding Implementation Contractor Tuesday also released a 55-page guide and 18 additional fact sheets with instructions for the 2021 bidding round.
The effort to educate stakeholders ahead of the bid window reflects the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid's decision to shift from its existing competitive bidding program to a new lead item bidding model in which suppliers will only submit a single bid for a product category such as off-the-shelf knee braces.
Industry trade groups have spent significant time creating resources for member companies to navigate the new lead item bidding program.
In April, the American Association for Homecare, the Council for Quality Respiratory Care, VGM & Associates and the Healthcare Nutrition Council launched a website that congregates information to help DME suppliers understand the impact of the new bidding program.
CMS Tuesday announced a series of three upcoming webinars to help stakeholders understand the process. On May 14 the agency will discuss lead item pricing and the bid surety bond, on May 21 it will talk about how to prepare and submit relevant financial documents, and on May 28 suppliers can learn how to register and submit a bid.
The four trade groups are also scheduled to hold their own webinar on May 20 to provide an overview of the 2021 process.
Once the bid window closes, CMS said it plans to announce single payment amounts and begin its contracting processes in the summer of 2020. In the fall of 2020, the agency will announce contract suppliers.
Since suspending the competitive bidding program at the start of 2019, CMS has allowed any Medicare supplier to provide DME products to beneficiaries during the two-year temporary gap period until the contracts and prices established by the new lead item bidding program takes effect at the start of 2021.