The Secretary shall establish and implement programs under which competitive acquisition areas are established throughout the United States for contract award purposes for the furnishing under this part of competitively priced items and services (described in paragraph (2)) for which payment is made under this part. Such areas may differ for different items and services.
In carrying out the programs, the Secretary may waive such provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation as are necessary for the efficient implementation of this section, other than provisions relating to confidentiality of information and such other provisions as the Secretary determines appropriate.
The Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services shall, through post-award audit, survey, or otherwise, assess the process used by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to conduct competitive bidding and subsequent pricing determinations under this section that are the basis for pivotal bid amounts and single payment amounts for items and services in competitive bidding areas under rounds 1 and 2 of the competitive acquisition programs under this section and may continue to verify such calculations for subsequent rounds of such programs.
In this subparagraph, the term “covered document” means a financial, tax, or other document required to be submitted by a bidder as part of an original bid submission under a competitive acquisition program in order to meet required financial standards. Such term does not include other documents, such as the bid itself or accreditation documentation.
With respect to rounds of competitions beginning under this subsection for contracts beginning not earlier than January 1, 2017, and not later than January 1, 2019, an entity may not submit a bid for a competitive acquisition area unless, as of the deadline for bid submission, the entity has obtained (and provided the Secretary with proof of having obtained) a bid surety bond (in this paragraph referred to as a “bid bond”) in a form specified by the Secretary consistent with subparagraph (H) and in an amount that is not less than $50,000 and not more than $100,000 for each competitive acquisition area in which the entity submits the bid.
In the case of a bidding entity for any product category for a competitive acquisition area, if the entity does not meet the bid forfeiture conditions in subclauses (I) and (II) of clause (i) for any product category for such area, the bid bond submitted by such entity for such area shall be returned within 90 days of the public announcement of the contract suppliers for such area.
Covered items (as defined in section 1395m(a)(13) of this title) for which payment would otherwise be made under section 1395m(a) of this title, including items used in infusion and drugs (other than inhalation drugs) and supplies used in conjunction with durable medical equipment, but excluding class III devices under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act [21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.], excluding certain complex rehabilitative power wheelchairs recognized by the Secretary as classified within group 3 or higher (and related accessories when furnished in connection with such wheelchairs), and excluding drugs and biologicals described in section 1395u(o)(1)(D) of this title.
Orthotics described in section 1395x(s)(9) of this title for which payment would otherwise be made under section 1395m(h) of this title which require minimal self-adjustment for appropriate use and do not require expertise in trimming, bending, molding, assembling, or customizing to fit to the individual.
In the case of a covered item for which payment is made on a rental basis under section 1395m(a) of this title and in the case of payment for oxygen under section 1395m(a)(5) of this title, the Secretary shall establish a process by which rental agreements for the covered items and supply arrangements with oxygen suppliers entered into before the application of the competitive acquisition program under this section for the item may be continued notwithstanding this section. In the case of any such continuation, the supplier involved shall provide for appropriate servicing and replacement, as required under section 1395m(a) of this title.
With respect to items or services included within a particular HCPCS code, the Secretary may establish a process for certain items and services under which a physician may prescribe a particular brand or mode of delivery of an item or service within such code if the physician determines that use of the particular item or service would avoid an adverse medical outcome on the individual, as determined by the Secretary.
A prescription under subparagraph (A) shall not affect the amount of payment otherwise applicable for the item or service under the code involved.
For each competitive acquisition area in which the program is implemented under this subsection with respect to items and services, the payment basis determined under the competition conducted under subsection (b) shall be substituted for the payment basis otherwise applied under section 1395m(a) of this title, section 1395m(h) of this title, or section 1395u(s) of this title, as appropriate.
A contract entered into with an entity under the competition conducted pursuant to paragraph (1) is subject to terms and conditions that the Secretary may specify.
The Secretary may limit the number of contractors in a competitive acquisition area to the number needed to meet projected demand for items and services covered under the contracts. In awarding contracts, the Secretary shall take into account the ability of bidding entities to furnish items or services in sufficient quantities to meet the anticipated needs of individuals for such items or services in the geographic area covered under the contract on a timely basis.
Payment under this part for competitively priced items and services described in subsection (a)(2) shall be based on bids submitted and accepted under this section for such items and services. Based on such bids the Secretary shall determine a single payment amount for each item or service in each competitive acquisition area.
Payment under this section for items and services shall be in an amount equal to 80 percent of the payment basis described in subparagraph (A).
In applying subparagraph (A) to a contractor, the contractor shall include a successor entity in the case of a merger or acquisition, if the successor entity assumes such contract along with any liabilities that may have occurred thereunder.
The Secretary may enter into contracts with appropriate entities to address complaints from individuals who receive items and services from an entity with a contract under this section and to conduct appropriate education of and outreach to such individuals and monitoring quality of services with respect to the program.
With respect to the competitive acquisition program for diabetic testing strips conducted after the first round of the competitive acquisition programs, if an entity does not demonstrate to the Secretary that its bid covers types of diabetic testing strip products that, in the aggregate and taking into account volume for the different products, cover 50 percent (or such higher percentage as the Secretary may specify) of all such types of products, the Secretary shall reject such bid. With respect to bids to furnish such types of products on or after January 1, 2019, the volume for such types of products shall be determined by the Secretary through the use of multiple sources of data (from mail order and non-mail order Medicare markets), including market-based data measuring sales of diabetic testing strip products that are not exclusively sold by a single retailer from such markets.
Before 2011, the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services shall conduct a study to determine the types of diabetic testing strip products by volume that could be used to make determinations pursuant to subparagraph (A) for the first competition under the competitive acquisition program described in such subparagraph and submit to the Secretary a report on the results of the study. The Inspector General shall also conduct such a study and submit such a report before the Secretary conducts a subsequent competitive acquistion  program described in subparagraph (A).
With respect to bids to furnish diabetic testing strip products on or after January 1, 2019, in determining under subparagraph (A) whether a bid submitted by an entity under such subparagraph covers 50 percent (or such higher percentage as the Secretary may specify) of all types of diabetic testing strip products, the Secretary may not attribute a percentage to types of diabetic testing strip products that the Secretary does not identify by brand, model, and market share volume.
In the case of an entity that is furnishing diabetic testing strip products on or after January 1, 2019, under a contract entered into under the competition conducted pursuant to paragraph (1), the Secretary shall establish a process to monitor, on an ongoing basis, the extent to which such entity continues to cover the product types included in the entity’s bid.
If the Secretary determines that an entity described in clause (i) fails to maintain in inventory, or otherwise maintain ready access to (through requirements, contracts, or otherwise) a type of product included in the entity’s bid, the Secretary may terminate such contract unless the Secretary finds that the failure of the entity to maintain inventory of, or ready access to, the product is the result of the discontinuation of the product by the product manufacturer, a market-wide shortage of the product, or the introduction of a newer model or version of the product in the market involved.
With respect to an entity that is furnishing diabetic testing strip products to individuals under a contract entered into under the competitive acquisition program established under this section, the entity shall furnish to each individual a brand of such products that is compatible with the home blood glucose monitor selected by the individual.
With respect to diabetic testing strip products furnished on or after the date on which the Secretary develops the standardized information under clause (i), an entity described in subparagraph (A) may not communicate directly to an individual until the entity has verbally provided the individual with such standardized information.
With respect to diabetic testing strip products furnished on or after January 1, 2019, the Secretary shall require an entity furnishing diabetic testing strip products to an individual to contact and receive a request from the individual for such products not more than 14 days prior to dispensing a refill of such products to the individual.
The Secretary shall provide for a competitive acquisition ombudsman within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in order to respond to complaints and inquiries made by suppliers and individuals relating to the application of the competitive acquisition program under this section. The ombudsman may be within the office of the Medicare Beneficiary Ombudsman appointed under section 1395b–9(c) of this title. The ombudsman shall submit to Congress an annual report on the activities under this subsection, which report shall be coordinated with the report provided under section 1395b–9(c)(2)(C) of this title.