Pathways’ Pick of the Week: DME Bid Program Languishes

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The Durable Medical Equipment Medicare Competitive Bidding Program is facing an uncertain future. Excerpted from Pathways’ Picks, February 10.

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A “Pivotal Bid Report” from CMS that was requested by stakeholders showed a wide variation in bid amounts and some steep rate increases tied to the latest cycle of the durable medical equipment (DME) Medicare Competitive Bidding Program. It adds more questions about the future of the program that is intended to reduce Medicare spending. The report followed an announcement by CMS in October that, after a two-year program suspension, its January 2021 DME bidding round was only going to accept bids for off-the-shelf back and knee braces. That does not include the other 13 DME product bidding categories, including CPAP and oxygen equipment. CMS said it did not achieve expected savings for those products based on its experience in prior rounds. “The future of Medicare's competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment appears to be up in the air,” Eric Assaraf, a health policy analyst with Cowen Washington Research Group, said in a February 5 note on the latest DME report. “What seems clear, though, is that Medicare's competitive bidding program is no longer the threat it once was to the DME industry.”


Excerpted from “Pathways’ Picks: Updates from China, Nomination Chatter, DigHealth Scrutiny,” Market Pathways, February 10, 2021.

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