CMS drops vents from Round 2021

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Thursday, April 9, 2020

WASHINGTON – CMS has removed non-invasive ventilators from the competitive bidding program.

The agency had included the vents in Round 2021, something industry stakeholders have argued against and something that has taken on a new urgency in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

"CMS is making the right call at the right time in removing non-invasive vents from the next round of competitive bidding," said Tom Ryan, AAHomecare president and CEO. "This decisive action will help maintain patient access to these essential devices both during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The HME community is doing all we can to provide effective care and reduce the extraordinary burdens hospitals are facing, and CMS is helping us achieve that mission through both this important policy change and through provisions in the recent COVID-19 Interim Final Rule."

In October, a bill tht would delay the inclusion of NIV in competitive bidding for five years was introduced in the House of Representatives.

While the bid window closed in September, there will be no contracts awarded for the NIV product category. For bidders whose only bid in a competitive bidding area was for the NIV product category, the bid surety bond for the applicable CBA does not meet the forfeiture conditions and will not be collected by CMS. CMS will issue appropriate notice to the applicable bidders and sureties.

Other reation from industry stakeholders:

Clint Geffert, president of VGM & Associates: “This is a great start and gets us headed in the right direction. Removing NIVs from the Competitive Bidding Program helps maintain access to critical, complex equipment. DME suppliers can now have piece of mind as they navigate this PHE and beyond. Thank you to everyone and their efforts over the past year to help make this happen. This was a team effort as an industry united together to listen to all of our members' needs."

Dan Starck, chairman of the Council for Quality Respiratory Care: “We are incredibly pleased to see CMS remove non-invasive ventilation from the competitive bidding program. We have been working collaboratively with the agency throughout the COVID-19 crisis and have advocated strongly for the removal of non-invasive ventilators from the Round 2021 competitive bidding program to protect access to this therapy. Today’s move by CMS will undoubtably enable more patients to receive this vital respiratory therapy in the home. We strongly support today's policy decision and ask that CMS also consider pausing competitive bidding for the other DME products, such as oxygen, positive airway pressure device, nebulizers and hospital beds, to meet the exponential increase in patient need for these devices.”