Energy and Commerce Committee Health Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Competitive Bidding

On Wednesday, September 15, the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing on Medicare’s DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program. The hearing, which began at 10:00 am EDT, examined the conception and implementation of the program, the implementation of the Round One re-bid, and its potential effects on patients, providers, and suppliers.

Laurence Wilson

Director, Chronic Care Policy Group, Center for

Medicare & Medicaid Services

(Click here for testimony)

The Honorable Daniel Levinson

Inspector General, Office of the Inspector General,

Department of Health and Human Services

(Click here for testimony)

Kathleen King

Director, Health Care, Government Accountability Office

(Click here for testimony)

Karen Lerner

Registered Nurse, Wound Care, Support Surface & Rehab Specialist, Allcare Medical

(Click here for testimony)

Alfred Chiplin

Managing Attorney, Center for Medicare Advocacy

(Click here for testimony)

Nancy Schlichting

President and Chief Executive Officer, Henry Ford Health System

(Click here for testimony)

William Scanlon

Health Policy Consultant

(Click here for testimony)

During the hearing, several members of Congress questioned how CMS will maintain access and quality. Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) also asked if the unfairness from CMS has been addressed. CMS Director of Chronic Care Policy Group, Laurence Wilson replied on the agency’s behalf, stating that CMS will monitor as the program goes to ensure access and quality is maintained. Wilson could not provide a clear answer to Dingell’s question on unfairness.

According to VGM’s John Gallagher, several Congressional members appeared unhappy with CMS’ set up of the competitive bidding program. One noted, “we are going after the ‘moms and pops’,” not just the criminals. Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) expressed her frustration in seeing contracts offered to non-local companies with little experience. She also mentioned her disapproval of CMS’ “wait and see” approach to ensuring access and quality is maintained.

To view a recording of the hearing, click here. (Please note the 15-minute delay on the video.)