The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services yesterday announced the bidding timeline for Round 1 of the 2017 competition of the Medicare Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies Competitive Bidding Program. The agency is required to re-compete the contracts at least once every three years. Suppliers then submit bids to provide certain equipment and supplies in competitive bidding areas. The resulting payment amounts replace the fee schedule amounts for the bid items in these areas. The program has affected prices for certain products such as oxygen, walkers, mail-order diabetic testing supplies in selected metropolitan areas since 2011 and now operates in 99 markets. Hospitals have the option to furnish competitively bid walkers, folding manual wheelchairs and external infusion pumps to discharging patients without submitting a bid or being awarded a competitive bid contract. For more on the program, including the bidding rules and other resources for suppliers, visit www.dmecompetitivebid.com.