WASHINGTON, DC – Provisions from H.R. 284, legislation that passed the House in March 2015, were ultimately folded into H.R. 2, comprehensive Medicare legislation popularly known as the “Doc Fix,” which was ultimately signed into law on April 16, 2015.
The legislation improves competitive bidding in three concrete ways:
• providers will need to prove licensure before they submit bids;
• bidders would be required to obtain a bid bond; and
• bonds will be forfeited if the bidder declines the contract and his bid was at or below the bid price.
On Dec 18, Congress passed S. 2425, a package of Medicare-related provisions that includes a one year delay on the application of Medicare competitive bid pricing to complex rehab technology (CRT) accessories used with Group 3 power wheelchairs.
Legislation to provide a permanent fix that reaffirms the original Congressional intent to keep CRT accessories outside the purview of the bidding program remains active for consideration next year in the 114th Congress. H.R. 3229 has 83 co-sponsors, while its Senate companion, S. 2196 has 16 co-sponsors.
Legislation to provide relief for rural suppliers under new plans to use bidding-derived pricing outside of bid areas generated significant support for H.R. 4185 (72 co-sponsors) and S. 2312 (18 cosponsors) in a short time frame after being introduced. These bills also remain active for consideration next year, as well.
Finally, AAHomecare has been working with key members of Congress to address coding changes that have led to cuts for ventilators, and they hope to have legislation on this issue introduced in early 2016.
While the HME community was unable to move legislative priorities into the year-end omnibus spending package, the industry has the opportunity to build support for a permanent CRT accessories fix, CB rural relief, and legislation to address cuts to vents in the second session of the 114th Congress.
AAHomecare will continue to work with its membership, state and regional association partners, and other HME stakeholders and allied groups to move forward on these issues in 2016.