Ask Congress to Support a Delay for CB Round 2021 so HME Suppliers Can Support Patients and Communities During COVID-19 Outbreak and Beyond
CMS and Capitol Hill need understand how moving forward with the next round of the Competitive Bidding Program for HME will hinder our industry’s ability to support patients and reduce hospital burdens during the COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath. Ask your Senators and Representative to weigh in with CMS to delay Round 2021 of the Bidding Program for at least one year – and allow HME to make its strongest possible contribution to responding to this healthcare crisis.
While the COVID-19 pandemic threatens millions of individuals and impacts communities nationwide, HME suppliers continue to play a major role in limiting the spread of the virus and reducing the burdens on hospitals and clinicians.
While HME suppliers join other healthcare professionals on the front lines in responding to the crisis, CMS is preparing to implement a new round of the Medicare Competitive Bidding Program for home medical equipment to be implemented on January 1, 2021 (Round 2021).
The COVID-19 emergency has changed the cost structure for HME suppliers, impacting manufacturer prices and interrupting the supply chain across the full spectrum of products our industry provides. The pandemic has also greatly increased the need for personal protective equipment and seen the adoption of operational requirements to safely provide equipment and support for patients; many of these changes will likely continue even after the pandemic has ended.
Round 2021 of the bidding program relies on bids that were developed and submitted well before the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, these bids do not take into account these supply chain disruptions, new safety/operational requirements, and higher costs that have resulted from the public health emergency. Put simply: bids HME companies submitted in the Fall of 2019 for the next bidding round will not reflect new realities for the healthcare industry in 2021 and beyond.
The HME industry needs to focus on maintaining and building capacity in the coming months rather than getting ready to cut capacity when bid results and contracts are set to be announced this summer – and this is especially critical if we go through some cycles where COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations rise again, as many health experts expect.
Please let your Senators and Representative in Congress know that CMS needs to extend the current pause on the bidding program so that the HME supplier community can continue to help bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control.
Feel to edit our draft letter to Congress that follows to reflect your company’s experiences and needs in supporting your communities during this crisis – and thank you for adding your voice in support of HME public policy priorities!