Wednesday, February 25, 2009

U.S. Representatives See Need to Revise Oxygen Policy, Co-Sign Oxygen Letter

More than one hundred members of the U.S. House of Representatives co-signed a letter urging the Ways and Means and the Energy and Commerce Committees to urge CMS to revise post-36 month oxygen payment policies to address serious shortcomings that are creating hardships for both oxygen patients and providers of these services.

The bipartisan letter, signed by 123 members in the House, also explained that home oxygen providers are not just suppliers of equipment but rather front-line caregivers as well. The letter states:

CMS’ final rule, published on October 30, 2008, addressing the treatment of oxygen therapy post 36 months, established very limited payment levels and unreasonable obligations that are impeding the provision of quality care to Medicare beneficiaries on home oxygen therapy. These policies require the original home oxygen provider to continue to provide, without any payment, unscheduled service and maintenance visits, 24-hour emergency care, equipment repairs, and oxygen supplies and accessories for a two year period following the rental cap. The rule also establishes inadequate payment levels for scheduled maintenance and service equal to one visit every six months at a payment rate of approximately $30 per visit.

The American Association for Homecare would like to thank the Representatives who realized the importance of changing this policy and agreed to co-sign this letter. For more information, please visit

Friday, February 13, 2009

HME Stakeholders Address Medicare Fraud With Legislative Plan

During the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare) Washington fly-in on February 11, HME stakeholders urged Congress and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to adopt a Medicare Anti-Fraud Legislative Plan developed by AAHomecare. The legislative action plan outlines tough, effective measures to stop waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare’s home medical equipment sector.

Modern Healthcare explained that the “plan calls for mandatory site inspections of all new medical-equipment providers and companies seeking renewal of their CMS contracts; establishing more rigorous quality standards for providers; increasing penalties and fines for billing fraud; and requiring post-payment audit reviews of all new medical-equipment contractors.” To read their report of this plan visit,

Congressional Quarterly Healthbeat News also reported on the legislative plan, quoting president of AAHomecare Tyler Wilson, as saying, “the anti-fraud plan is the group’s attempt to help reduce Medicare fraud, which costs the $430 billion program as much $60 billion a year. DME accounts for $10 billion of Medicare spending and fraud in that sector accounts for less than $1 billion of that amount. “That has us concerned as it should have everyone concerned.”