NASL Article Details

Press Release

NASL Applauds House Majority Joining Bipartisan Call to Delay Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program

NASL, 6/13/2013

Washington, DC – Just over a week ago, Representative Glenn “G.T.” Thompson (R-PA) told DMEPOS
providers and suppliers at NASL’s legislative meeting that having 150 Members of the House of
Representatives sign a letter calling on Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator
Marilyn Tavenner to delay the DMEPOS competitive bidding Round 2 program could be “significant.”
Representatives Thompson and Bruce Braley (D-IA) crafted a “Dear Colleague” letter to other House
members calling for support to delay the program in order for licensure and other issues to be fixed.
Today, Representatives Thompson and Braley will lead a press conference announcing that 226
Members of the House have signed the delay letter that will be sent to Administrator Tavenner.

The Medicare Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics & Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive
Bidding Program has been widely criticized; just recently it has come to light that some winning bidders
did not have the proper licenses CMS requires as detailed in the letter to CMS signed by the 226
Members of the House. The letter, led by Representatives Thompson and Braley, asks CMS to
administratively delay Round 2 slated to begin July 1, 2013, when DMEPOS rates are expected to be
cut by an average of 45 percent and impact patient care. DME suppliers and providers were required
to be licensed in order to win bids according to CMS’ rules. If these winning bidders did not have the
required licenses, they should not have been offered contracts due to their non-compliance with rules
established by CMS.  

“NASL applauds the leadership of Representatives Glenn “G.T.”  Thompson and Bruce Braley, for
taking on such a complex issue,” remarked NASL Executive Vice President Cynthia Morton. “NASL
continues to voice serious concerns about the process that CMS used in evaluating the ability of those
with winning bids to deliver quality care along with the devastating impact deep payment cuts could
have on both the companies supplying these products and the patients who rely on them,” Morton said.

NASL Medical Products Committee Chair David Lefkowitz explained, “Cutting DMEPOS rates by
approximately 45 percent of Medicare’s current fee schedule amounts far exceeds what was expected
of Round 2 of CMS’ contested Competitive Bidding Program.”

“Providing enteral nutrition involves more than just selecting a product listed on the Medicare fee
schedule and delivering it to a provider,” continued Lefkowitz, who is the director of customer relations
for the New York-based Stonebridge Medical. “Supplying enteral nutrition for nursing facility residents,
for example, requires the supplier to be able to track various formulas and to interact with a facility’s
clinical staff to ensure that patients receive the proper enteral formulas ordered by their physicians.
Changes in a patient’s condition may mean his or her physician will order a different formula – and
enteral nutrition suppliers must be able to respond to such changes.” “It appears that the government’s
zeal for cost savings may have obscured its view of what is actually required to provide quality care,”
Lefkowitz commented. “This is not surprising when one considers the current competitive bidding
system, by definition, requires one-half of the winning bidders to accept payment amounts that are less
than their bids.” 

NASL remains committed to working with Congress to address problems with the current competitive
bidding program and to develop a payment system that accurately reflects the true market for the
provision of DMEPOS products and services Medicare beneficiaries need.

Video of House press conference
Letter to CMS from 227 Members of the House