CMS Awards DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Contracts

Beginning Jan. 1, 2011, Medicare beneficiaries in nine areas across the country will see prices for certain medical items and supplies, on average, 32 percent lower than Medicare currently pays for the same items, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The public health agency that operates under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced, Nov. 3, that 1,217 contracts for the Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program have been awarded to 356 suppliers.

CMS received 6,215 bids from 1,011 suppliers during a 60-day bidding period held last year. All contracted suppliers were required to comply with Medicare enrollment rules, be licensed and accredited, and meet financial standards. Contract suppliers agree to provide certain medical items and supplies at competitive bid rates to Medicare beneficiaries in 662 locations within the nine competitive bidding areas.

CMS said it will launch a comprehensive public education effort and monitor the program implementation closely.

“Medicare contract suppliers signed contracts that included terms such as protections to ensure that they will furnish beneficiaries with necessary equipment and quality customer service, starting on January 1, 2011,” said Berwick.  “Medicare will hold contract suppliers to their obligations and will take action to address any contract performance problems.”

Medical items and supplies in the Competitive Bidding Program include:

  • Oxygen, oxygen equipment, and supplies
  • Standard power wheelchairs, scooters, and related accessories
  • Complex rehabilitative power wheelchairs and related accessories (Group 2 only)
  • Mail-order diabetic supplies
  • Enteral nutrients, equipment and supplies
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices, Respiratory Assist Devices (RADs), and related supplies and accessories
  • Hospital beds and related accessories
  • Walkers and related accessories
  • Support surfaces (Group 2 mattresses and overlays in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, Fla. only)

To take advantage of the lower prices for these items, beneficiaries may need to choose a new supplier if there current supplier isn’t contracted and they live in one of the following competitive bidding areas:

  • Charlotte – Gastonia – Concord (North Carolina and South Carolina )
  • Cincinnati – Middletown (Ohio , Kentucky and Indiana )
  • Cleveland – Elyria – Mentor (Ohio )
  • Dallas – Fort Worth – Arlington (Texas )
  • Kansas City (Missouri and Kansas )
  • Miami – Fort Lauderdale – Pompano Beach (Florida )
  • Orlando – Kissimmee (Florida)
  • Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania)
  • Riverside – San Bernardino – Ontario (California)

Consumers, physicians and other providers can find a list of Medicare contract suppliers in the nine initial areas of the program by visiting www.medicare.gov (under “Resource Locator” select “Medical Equipment and Supplies”).

Source: CMS press release

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