Competitive bidding ombudsman reports on complaints

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Friday, November 1, 2019

WASHINGTON – The Competitive Acquisition Ombudsman recently published a report to Congress on concerns with the program, including beneficiary access.

Although the CAO publishes the report annually, it has not been publically available since 2011. This most recent report, therefore, combines fiscal years 2012-16.

During this time period, there were 741,065 inquiries made through 1-800-Medicare, 633 of which were escalated to CMS. Complaints made by beneficiaries, discharge planners and DME suppliers centered on timeliness of delivery, locating a contract supplier and quality of the products.

More specifically, complaints included:

·      Difficulty obtaining liquid oxygen. Complaints included notification that a contract supplier would no longer supply liquid oxygen, refusal by another contract oxygen supplier to accept new patients who required liquid oxygen, and changes made by another contract supplier to the oxygen modality being provided.

·      Difficulty locating contract suppliers to provide infusion pumps among those listed in the CMS Medicare Supplier Directory.

·      Difficulty locating contract suppliers that carried the brand of diabetes testing supplies used; and feeling pressured by contract suppliers to switch diabetes testing supply brands when the supplier did not carry the brand used.