WASHINGTON, DC – HME suppliers in rural and other non-bid areas received significant support in the April 2020 CARES Act though measures that extended the 50/50 blended rate for rural suppliers through the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), and for the first time provided a 75/25 rate (a blend using 75% current adjusted rates and 25% unadjusted rates) for suppliers in other non-bid areas for the duration of the PHE.
As AAHomecare steps up its engagement with policymakers to seek meaningful rate adjustments for former CBAs, extending the current relief for rural and non-CBA suppliers beyond the PHE also remains a priority.
AAHomecare and HME stakeholders have recently highlighted the increased product cost and supply chain constraints that are impacting our industry. These issues are likely to remain in place well beyond the end of the PHE, especially given both higher demand for respiratory products as well as continued transportation, raw material costs, and higher equipment prices that will accompany an expected surge in the U.S. and international economy. Accordingly, the rationale for extending the relief granted to rural and non-CBA suppliers in the CARES Act remains largely in effect – and will be a major focus of our advocacy along with appropriate rate adjustments for former CBAs.
AAHomecare has consistently advocated for these rural and non-CBA rates to both CMS and Congress. These efforts have borne fruit in various measures applying 50/50 rates in legislation and regulation as far back as 2016 – and also through the first application of the 75/25 non-CBA rates in 2020. As is often the case, achieving these major policy gains was the result of years of sustained effort.
We have urged CMS to continue these rates and are also laying the groundwork for legislation to continue this relief if it is not part of the pending DME Rule. As the delay in releasing the DME Rule rolls on, the need to develop a “Hill-forward” approach is increasingly clear. The HME industry needs to protect and extend this hard-won relief, and AAHomecare is preparing for this fight.
CMS Releases Additional Details on Round 2021 Bids
WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, CMS released additional details on Round 2021 bid submissions that includes data sought by AAHomecare in a November 2020 FOIA request.
Overall, suppliers submitted 45,815 bids, including 37,894 for the 13 major product categories that were dropped from Round 2021 in October. 53% of the bids for the products ultimately not included in Round 2021 were submitted by first-time bidders (20,116 of the 37,894 bids based on CBIC’s information for First Time Bidders).
Other insights from data on the 13 product categories removed from Round 2021:
- For approximately 12% of bids, CMS requested bidders share additional information to determine bona fide bid status.
- 91 bids failed to submit a bona fide bid documentation that supported their bid amount.
- Approximately 21% of bids (7,863) would have lost the bid due to price alone.
- Approximately 11% of bids (3,990) would have lost based on financials.
- A total of 42% (15,695 bids) of the bids would have been disqualified overall. Besides losing on bid price and financial issues noted above, the next leading reasons for disqualification include: not licensed (2,109) and invalid bid bond (510).
The data released by CMS closely matches five of the six categories sought in AAHomecare’s FOIA request; the only area not addressed was details on how many bidders were denied on account of an inadequate or incomplete response to a CBIC preliminary bid evaluation inquiry.
AAHomecare appreciates CMS’ commitment to transparency in sharing these details as well as bidding results released earlier this year. AAHomecare’s Regulatory Council will further evaluate the newly released information to help inform guidance for potential future bidding rounds.