Medicare agency announces winners of competitive bidding contracts

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Wednesday released the list of 356 suppliers who have won contracts to provide durable medical equipment for nine communities across the country.

The competitive bidding program, created by the 2003 Medicare reform law, aims to save patients and the government money by replacing standard fees with market competition among providers. The program, which slashes prices by 32 percent, begins Jan. 1 in the following areas: 

• Charlotte – Gastonia – Concord (North Carolina and South Carolina)

• Cincinnati – Middletown (Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana)

• Cleveland – Elyria – Mentor (Ohio)

• Dallas – Fort Worth – Arlington (Texas)

• Kansas City (Missouri and Kansas)

• Miami – Fort Lauderdale – Pompano Beach (Florida)

• Orlando – Kissimmee (Florida)

• Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania)

• Riverside – San Bernardino – Ontario (California)

Industry groups have objected to the program, saying its cuts are too steep for many small companies to survive. And several experts have criticized the way the bidding program is structured.

A House bill to repeal the competitive bidding program has attracted more than 250 sponsors.