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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Dec 8, 2015.
Protecting Access through Competitive-pricing Transition Act of 2015 or the PACT Act of 2015
This bill amends titles XVIII (Medicare) and XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act to modify provisions relating to payment for durable medical equipment (DME) under the Medicare and Medicaid programs. (DME includes certain medically necessary equipment such as walkers, wheelchairs, and hospital beds.)
With respect to DME furnished in areas that are not competitive acquisition areas, current regulations require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) to phase in, over a two-year period, Medicare payment adjustments using information from competitive acquisition programs. (Through such programs, payment amounts for each area are determined based on competitive bids submitted by suppliers, rather than according to an established fee schedule.) The bill codifies this requirement and specifies that CMS shall adjust fee schedule amounts to the lesser of: (1) a specified percentage of the regional amount; and (2) the amount that would otherwise be determined according to the fee schedule, with specified adjustments.
In determining Medicare payment adjustments for areas that are not competitive acquisition areas, CMS shall solicit stakeholder input and take into account several specified factors.
CMS may not accept a bid under the competitive acquisition program unless the bidder: (1) meets applicable state licensure requirements; and (2) has submitted a cash deposit as a bond, as specified by the bill.
CMS must establish a six-year market pricing demonstration project, under which auctions are conducted in eligible areas for the furnishing of market-priced DME items and services. The bill establishes project requirements related to auction design, contract terms, transparency, and monitoring.