FAMED effort to halt bidding project is moving forward

By MATTHEW HAY

HHBR Washington Correspondent

POLK COUNTY, FL – The Florida Association of Medical Equipment Dealers (FAMED) is awaiting a response from a preliminary hearing last week where it asked the court for a temporary injunction to halt implementation of the Health Care Financing Administration’s (HCFA; Baltimore) Medicare Part B competitive bidding demonstration project in Polk County, FL.

FAMED President Brian Seeley told HHBR that while no injunction was issued at the hearing, the court requested more information from both sides after hearing their arguments and should make a decision later this week. "It’s not a win," said Seeley, "but it’s certainly a positive development."

FAMED and several Florida companies filed the lawsuit Feb. 4 contending that HCFA established and utilized an Advisory Committee – National Technical Expert Panel – in violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) which requires that all advisory committees be subject to uniform procedural standards including providing advance public notice of meetings.

FAMED maintains it was denied an opportunity to provide advice and was thereby denied the procedural safeguards established by Congress. The Polk County demonstration project is expected to have broad repercussions on the home medical equipment industry. This week’s decision will be watched closely.