WASHINGTON, DC – CMS announced last week that it is removing non-invasive ventilators from the next round of the Medicare Competitive Bidding Program.
“CMS is making the right call at the right time in removing non-invasive vents from the next round of competitive bidding,” said Tom Ryan, AAHomecare president & CEO. “This decisive action will help maintain patient access to these essential devices both during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The HME community is doing all we can to provide effective care and reduce the extraordinary burdens hospitals are facing, and CMS is helping us achieve that mission through both this important policy change and through provisions in the recent COVID-19 Interim Final Rule.”
Gene Sego, president and owner, Sego’s Home Medical Equipment, Titusville and Casselberry, Fla., agrees with Ryan, calling ventilator removal “the right move and the logical move.” Sego has not let any employees go during the global pandemic, but acknowledges that a shortage of PPE has been a challenge.
“The HME community is a small community, and we rally together to help patients and each other,” he says. “It might just be a ventilator here or there, or a concentrator here or there to get through the week—and hopefully the next batch will come in…I don’t think we’re out of the woods yet, but we’re prepared.”
Full Statement from CMS
Due to the novel COVID-19 pandemic, CMS is removing the non-invasive ventilators (NIV) product category from Round 2021 of the Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program. Round 2021 was the first time that Medicare had included NIVs in the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program.
A NIV is a ventilator used with a non-invasive interface (e.g., mask) in contrast to an invasive interface (e.g., tracheostomy tube). By removing NIVs from Round 2021 of the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program, any Medicare-enrolled DMEPOS supplier can furnish any of the types of ventilators covered under the Medicare program.
CMS determines which items to phase in as part of each round of competition in accordance with the statute and regulations governing the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program (see 42 U.S.C. 1395w–3(a)(1)). CMS is removing NIVs from Round 2021 of the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program due to the novel COVID-19 pandemic, the President’s exercise of the Defense Production Act, public concern regarding access to ventilators, and the NIV product category being new to the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program.
There will be no competitive bidding contracts awarded for the NIV product category in Round 2021. For Round 2021 bidders whose only bid in a competitive bidding area(s) (CBA(s)) was for the NIV product category, the bid surety bond for the applicable CBA(s) does not meet the forfeiture conditions and will not be collected by CMS. CMS will issue appropriate notice to the applicable bidders and sureties.
If you have any questions, please call the Competitive Bidding Implementation Contractor (CBIC) customer service center at 877-577-5331 between 9 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. prevailing Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.