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Competitive Acquisition Ombudsman (CAO)

 

Competitive Acquisition Ombudsman

Helping to resolve your inquiry or complaint

The CAO is an ombudsman office charged with responding to inquiries and complaints from suppliers and individuals about the application of the Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program. We play a vital role in ensuring that Agency processes respond effectively to inquiries and complaints about the Program and notifying Agency leadership about potential issues that may affect beneficiaries’ access to quality DMEPOS items and services.

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:

Supplier Guidance

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

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:

Inquiries and Complaints

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

If you have an inquiry or complaint, there are several ways that you can get help.

Contact the Competitive Bidding Implementation Contractor.

You should first contact the Competitive Bidding Implementation Contractor (CBIC). You may contact the CBIC  via e-mail, telephone, or postal mail. CBIC customer service representatives are prepared to resolve your inquiries and complaints.

Contact the CAO.

If you have contacted the CBIC but still need help, you may submit your inquiry or complaint to the CAO. The CAO helps to ensure that your inquiry or complaint is resolved. The CAO will respond to your e-mail within 10 business days

The CAO can be reached via e-mail at: CompetitiveAcquisitionOmbudsman@cms.hhs.gov.

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

If you have a problem getting needed supplies 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.

Contact your supplier.

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 in writing within 14 calendar days.

If you need contact information for a supplier or need to choose a supplier, see the Medicare Supplier Directory.

Call 1-800-MEDICARE.

You also can call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to get help. TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

Contact the CAO.

If you have contacted your supplier or 1-800-MEDICARE but still need help, you may submit your inquiry or complaint to the CAO. The CAO helps to ensure that your inquiry or complaint is resolved. If you contact the CAO, you can expect that the CAO will respond to your e-mail within 10 business days.

The CAO can be reached via e-mail at: CompetitiveAcquisitionOmbudsman@cms.hhs.gov.

About the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program

The DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program is a way for Medicare to reduce the 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." The Competitive Bidding Program was designed to be gradually phased in, starting in a limited area and eventually expanding nationally. In the coming year, the Program will expand to cover many more beneficiaries and products.

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].

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.

For information about the current CAO, read the CAO’s biography [PDF, 149KB].