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 www.aahomecare.org.

2 comments:

Laura Vale Moore said...

1-CMS's oxygen rules that require the oxygen provider to continue to service oxygen patients without payment after 36 months are an unfunded mandate.

2-DME companies should be paid more for the service intensive patients, and those that require constant deliveries of portable oxygen cylinders.

3-The cost of the equipment is a small fraction of the cost of providing oxygen service to patients.

4-Home medical equipment is the cost saving solution to hospitalization. Congress and CMS should be trying to keep the industry viable, not put it out of business.

Laura said...

Following up on this issue of proposed cuts to home oxygen benefits:
The Obama Administration's focus on comparative effectiveness is welcomed by the DME industry. Studies show the medical and financial effectiveness of home care over institutional care across the spectrum. The DME industry would welcome thorough scientific inquiry into the cost effectiveness of medical products and services it offers.