CMS To Suspend Program For Medications Covered Under Medicare Part B
A CMS official last week said that the agency on Jan. 1 will suspend the Competitive Acquisition Program, launched in 2006 to supply certain medications to physician offices, because of "contractual issues" related to proprietary data, CQ HealthBeat reports. The program, which operates on a three-year contract cycle and serves about 4,200 physicians, will not operate during the 2009-2011 cycle but might resume operation during the 2012-2014 cycle, according to a CMS official.
According to CQ HealthBeat, a provision in the 2003 Medicare law established the program, which allows physicians to obtain medications covered under Part B from a "vendor who supplies the drugs to the doctor and handles billing of Medicare and collection and copayments owed by the beneficiary," with vendors selected through a bidding process. CMS earlier this year took bids from vendors that sought to participate in the 2009-2011 contract cycle.
A statement posted this week by CMS on the program's Web site said that, "while CMS received several qualified bids, contractual issues with the successful bidders resulted in CMS postponing the 2009 program." As a result, "CAP physician election for participation in the CAP in 2009 will not be held, and CAP drugs will not be available from an approved CAP vendor for dates of service after Dec. 31, 2008," according to the statement (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 9/12).
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