Meet BidPrep Debbie

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Provider Chris Rice is no fan of competitive bidding but he says, since it's probably here to stay, the industry needs to be prepared.

"There's enough folks trying to dismantle the program, and more power to them," said Rice, director of marketing for Riverside, Calif.-based Diamond Respiratory Care, which won contracts in every category it submitted bids for in Rounds 1 and 1.2. "I am focused on, if we have to live with this, how do we live with it?"

In October, he launched BidPrep,, an online system that walks providers through the bidding process. He developed the program based on Diamond Respiratory's experience and that of other winners and non-winners. Talking to other providers gave Rice a handle on what winning bidders had in common, as well as what led non-winners to be disqualified.

A huge amount of confusion surrounds the logistics of the program, said Rice.

"The pricing is the easy part," he said. "It's all of those thousands of things you need to do to get ready to bid is what providers got disqualified for."

BidPrep offers everything from credit report guidance to counseling services to post-bid advice, depending on which package level providers choose: Essentials ($1,995), Enhanced ($3,995) and Elite ($6,995). A free trial lets providers try before they buy.

"We assume you don't know anything about it and walk you through every process and every new term that's out there," said Rice. "We also have videos that explain some of the more confusing concepts. When you're on the topic of capacity, for example, BidPrep Debbie pops up and explains it to you."

One thing BidPrep doesn't do: tell providers what to bid.

"We give providers the tools to show them where they're still profitable and where they are losing money," said Rice. "We can provide them with calculators, but we are not going to tell them, 'bid this number.'"