Bid legislation: ‘Cooperative effort, not roadblocks’

Friday, January 9, 2015

WASHINGTON – Legislation to reform the competitive bidding program is expected to be reintroduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate early this week, say industry stakeholders.

“To have our champions working collaboratively to drop both bills, hopefully on the same day, is good,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare.

Reps. Patrick Tiberi, R-Ohio, and John Larson, D-Conn., and Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Ben Cardin, D-Md., intend to re-introduce legislation that would require providers to obtain bid bonds and provide proof of licensure before submitting bids.

Stakeholders have spent the past few weeks working to gain additional original co-sponsors for the bills. Working in their favor: Lawmakers are ready to get to work.

“There’s always a sense of new energy at the beginning of a new session,” said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Invacare. “They have two years and the ability to do something before elections interfere with daily agendas.”

Of course, the industry needs something to happen much quicker than that. With the bid window slated to open Jan. 22 and close March 25, the sense of urgency is high.

“Our supporters realize that timing is critical,” said Bachenheimer.

The hope is for the bills to get placed on the suspension calendar for a quick vote.

“We’ve been talking with the speaker of the house and the committees of jurisdiction, and making every attempt to make that happen,” said Ryan. “We’re not seeing roadblocks, we are seeing cooperative effort.”