Oxygen therapy and other durable medical equipment items and services are at the top of the list for Medicare reimbursement cuts this year. Politically, it would be easier for Congress to cut oxygen than home health payment rates or skilled nursing facilities, suggested a top aide to the Senate Finance Committee. During a conference last Wednesday, the staffer said oxygen is a key area for Medicare cuts that would likely take the form of a reduction in payment rates rather than a shorter rental period. The staffer asserted that beneficiary co-payments can amount to more than twice the cost of the actual oxygen equipment under Medicare.
The statement was confirmed by a second key staff member for a Ways and Means committee member. They agreed that the payment reduction rate for oxygen would be the preferred approach rather than a shorter rental period.
Now is the time to ramp-up efforts to encourage members of Congress to cosponsor the Tanner-Hobson (H.R. 1845), Hatch-Conrad (S. 1428), and other bills related to the homecare industry.