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Competitive Acquisition Ombudsman (CAO)

Helping to resolve your inquiry or complaint

The CAO is charged with responding to inquiries and complaints from DMEPOS, beneficiaries, and other suppliers and individuals about the application of the Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Suppliers (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program.  The CAO also facilitates Program Improvements by working with other CMS components to identify potential systemic issues.

This page is for suppliers, beneficiaries, caregivers, referral agents, and other individuals affected by the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program.

See the CAO frequently asked questions for more information.

On This Page:


About the CAO

The CAO’s role is to help ensure that inquiries and complaints about the Program are resolved. As an ombudsman, the CAO also works with other areas of CMS to identify potential systemic issues with the goal of helping CMS ensure that beneficiaries have access to and suppliers provide high-quality DMEPOS items and services. The CAO also provides an annual report to Congress. See the Downloads section of this page for a list of the published reports.



About the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program

The DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program has reduced costs of durable medical equipment and supplies while ensuring that beneficiaries continue to receive quality goods and services. To learn more about the Program’s quality standards, see the Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies Quality Standards booklet [PDF, 2.87MB].

The Program applies to a select category of supplies and services known as Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies or "DMEPOS."

For more information about the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program, see the Durable Medical Equipment Center and Medicare Learning Network’s fact sheet on the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program [PDF, 1.52MB].


Beneficiary Rights and Protections

All Medicare beneficiaries including those covered by the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program have certain rights and protections. You can find more information about your rights and protections in the following:


Supplier Guidance

All Medicare DMEPOS suppliers are accredited and meet quality standards. You can find more information about these standards in the following:


Suppliers: What to do if you have an inquiry or complaint

  •  Contact the Competitive Bidding Implementation Contractor (CBIC) via email, telephone, or post mail.  CBIC customer service representatives are prepared to resolve your inquiries/complaints
  •  If you have contacted the CBIC, but still need help, the CBIC representative may submit your inquiry or complaint to the CAO.


Beneficiary/Caregiver Guidance

Find a Supplier

If you are looking for a supplier to provide your needed DMEPOS items or services, and you need contact information for a supplier or need to choose a supplier, see the Medicare Supplier Directory.


Beneficiaries: What to do if you have an inquiry or complaint

If you have a problem getting needed DMEPOS items or services or if you are concerned about the quality of the supplies and services you are receiving, there are several ways that you can get help.

  1. Contact your supplier.  If you already have your DMEPOS item(s) but are having problems getting needed supplies or services, you should first contact your supplier.  Your supplier:
    • Must provide regular business hours and after-hour access telephone number(s).
    • Is obligated to acknowledge your complaint and respond to you.
    • Must let you know they received your complaint and are investigating it within 5 calendar days.
    • Must send you the result of your complaint and provide his or her response win writing within 14 calendar days.
  2. Call 1-800-MEDICARE.  1-800-633-4227 to get help.  TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.  If you need help in a language other than English or Spanish, say “Agent” to talk to a customer service representative.
  3. Contact the CAO.  If you have contacted the supplier and 1-800 MEDICARE, but still need help, ask the 1-800-MEDICARE representative to submit your inquiry or complaint to the CAO.  The CAO helps to ensure that your inquiry/complaint is resolved.