Friday, July 10, 2009

AAHomecare Responds to Cleveland Plain Dealer Article on Medicare Oxygen

The American Association for Homecare’s President, Tyler Wilson, sent the following letter to the editor to the Cleveland Plain Dealer on July 8, in response to an article on oxygen:

Your recent article “Home Oxygen Industry Trying to Change Way Government Pays to Provide Service to Seniors” addresses the impact of new Medicare rules on oxygen patients and providers. The American Association for Homecare and our members who provide millions of patients with oxygen home therapy, have reached out to Congress to explain how the new Medicare rules do not recognize the services and equipment maintenance necessary to provide quality oxygen care.

In your article, CMS underestimates the intensive service component of home oxygen therapy, claiming that service is the “exception, not the rule” and that equipment “requires very little servicing.”

Despite CMS’ claims, services are a substantial, critical component for home oxygen therapy. While oxygen equipment only accounts for 28% of costs, service and maintenance components constitute the other 73%, including: Customer Service (6%), Preparation, Return, Disposables/Scheduled Maintenance (12%), Unscheduled Repairs/ Maintenance (3%), Patient Assessment, Training, Education/Monitoring (9%), Delivery (21%), and Monthly Operating overhead (21%).*

We ask members of Congress to seriously consider the negative impacts these rules have on quality services needed by patients who rely on life-sustaining oxygen.


Tyler J. Wilson, President and CEO
American Association for Homecare

* Source: “A Comprehensive Cost Analysis of Medicare Home Oxygen Therapy,” a study for the American Association for Homecare, June 2006, by Morrison Informatics, Inc., 1150 Lancaster Blvd., Suite 101, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055. (717) 795-8410.

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