While bidding under the Medicare durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) competitive bidding program will take place later this year, the program will not actually go into effect until January 1, 2011 under a tentative timeline just released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This tentative implementation schedule for the Round 1 rebid, made public at a June 4, 2009 meeting of the Program Advisory and Oversight Committee (PAOC), includes the following milestones:

Spring 2009

  • Pre-bidding supplier awareness campaign began
  • PAOC meeting

Summer 2009

  • CMS announces detailed bidding/education event schedule
  • Bidder education campaign begins
  • Bidder registration period to obtain user IDs and passwords begins

Fall 2009

  • Bidding begins
  • Covered document review process begins (bidders may submit bid packages to qualify for review of missing financial documents)

Winter 2009/Spring 2010

  • Bid evaluation
  • Announcement of single payment amounts
  • Contract process begin

Summer 2010

  • Contract suppliers announced
  • Contract supplier education campaign begins

Fall 2010

  • Beneficiary, referral agency, and general supplier education campaign

January 2011

  • Program implementation

Also at the PAOC meeting, CMS discussed improvements to the on-line bidding system in the wake of numerous technical problems encountered during the initial bidding period in 2007 (the original round of the program, which went into effect briefly last summer, subsequently was blocked by Congress). In addition, CMS and its contractors stressed the importance of preparing now for the bidding process, including: getting appropriate state licenses, updating Medicare enrollment files with the National Supplier Clearinghouse, and getting accredited and bonded. The session also covered financial documentation, education activities, new supplier issues, and bidding for mail-order diabetic testing supplies, among other things. For Reed Smith news and analysis related to the DMEPOS competitive bidding program, click here.