Senate bill filed to block DME competitive-bidding program

Senate leaders have joined colleagues in the the House in sponsoring a bill that would delay a Medicare program calling for competitive billing on durable medical equipment. As things stand, the first bidding round would begin on July 1st, at which time CMS would pay contracted suppliers a set dollar amount for various DME equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies. Some DME groups, however, have complained that the program failed to specify financial standards for the first bidding round, is unfair to smaller providers and could compromise quality. Some of these groups are so opposed to the program that they have filed suit to stop it from moving forward.

The bill, sponsored in the Senate by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and ranking member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) would eliminate the first round of bidding and delay further implementation of the program for two years. Previously, Reps. Pete Stark (D-CA) and Dave Camp (R-MI) filed legislation on their side of Congress to delay the program.

To learn more about the DME bidding controversy:
- read this Modern Healthcare piece (reg. req.)

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