WASHINGTON, DC – The last six years in the HME business have been marked by a chaotic marketplace. Unsustainable pricing, unreasonable service, regulatory requirements, and an inability to do realistic business forecasting have changed the complexion of the industry. Well over a third of the companies and locations that existed in 2013 are gone. However, we finally now have an opportunity to react in a meaningful way.
The next round of the competitive bidding program is upon us. Thanks to the tireless work of AAHomecare, VGM, and numerous other industry stakeholders, we appear to have a program that approaches fair and can begin to lift the industry back into its vitally important role of being a key contributor to the home care solution for the healthcare crisis.
The key to taking advantage of the new environment is understanding the bidding process for CB Round 2021 and therefore bidding intelligently. First, it is important to understand that this is a bid, as distinguished from a quote, an estimate, or a proposal. The differences are subtle but important to understand as you approach this process.
Quotes are for easily quantifiable projects that have few variables. Estimates are “ballpark” figures given because of unknown factors. Proposals give the option to present multiple solutions for completing a project. Bids, however, are a precise, detailed response to specified expectations. Make sure what you submit is a bid.
Secondly, it is important that you completely understand the process. This round is like no bid program we have seen before. Even the vocabulary—historical capacity, lead item pricing, bid bond, 2015 rates, bid calculator, non-lead item, financial document score, ceiling—is different. If any of these phrases seem strange, more work is needed before you bid. Fortunately, there’s a new resource to help you navigate the new changes and requirements; more on that in a moment.
Lastly, know your costs (not just your cost of goods) and clearly define your goals and expectations for being in the program. For many, Medicare participation has become a loss leader that keeps the phone ringing. It’s time to once again think of it as a viable part of your business and bid accordingly.
These changes to the bidding program may seem daunting, but there’s welcome help in sorting out and simplifying the new requirements and methodologies at dmecbpeducation.com. This comprehensive online resource features all the details on CB Round 2021, laid out in an easy-to-follow format and written in plain English. The site also features bid calculators for every product category that will allow you to see how your lead-item bids will impact prices for associated items. The calculators and most of the information on the program can be found under the “Need to Know” tab there.
The bid window opens on July 16. The clock is ticking. Get prepared, get educated, and get ready to bid smart for CB Round 2021!
Stephen Ackerman is president and CEO of Spectrum Medical, Inc. which serves the metropolitan Washington, DC area. He is chairman of the American Association for Homecare and can be reached at email@example.com