WASHINGTON, DC – AAHomecare joined 42 other healthcare organizations in asking Congressional leaders to extend a significant measure of Medicare reimbursement relief through the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE).
Reps. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) and David McKinley (R-W.V.) [pictured] have introduced H.R. 315, legislation to continue a pause of the 2% Medicare sequester cuts through the duration of the PHE. Unlike most of the relief granted to healthcare providers in last March’s CARES Act, the moratorium on the sequester cuts was originally slated to only run through December 2020. Congress has since extended this relief for an additional 90 days, but a long-term solution is needed to protect HME suppliers and other healthcare providers through the end of the PHE, which the Biden Administration expects to continue through the end of 2021.
Your Support Needed to Extend Relief
Please reinforce the coalition’s efforts to keep the cuts paused by asking your Senators and Representative to support H.R. 315, the Medicare Sequester Moratorium Act:
- Send a personalized email to your Senators’ and Representative’s health care staffer asking them to support this legislation. You can find sample text here. Contact Gordon Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need contact information for healthcare staff.
- You can also quickly send a message to your legislators through our Action Center in support of extending the moratorium on these cuts, but a personal email to a staffer who handles healthcare issues will have a stronger and quicker impact.
The HME community’s grassroots outreach on this issue played a significant role in extending the pause through March 2021. Please take action today to ensure we continue to receive relief to help mitigate higher costs and new operational challenges associated with treating patients during the pandemic.
HHS Signals Intent to Continue to Extend PHE Through 2021
WASHINGTON, DC – In a recent letter to Governors, Acting HHS Secretary Norris Cochran shared that the Agency has determined that the COVID-19 PHE “will likely remain in effect” through the duration of 2021. In addition, HHS announced that it will provide states with 60 days’ notice prior to the termination date for the PHE.
In January, HHS officially extended the PHE declaration through April 21, 2021. As we noted in the previous AAH Insider, the PHE extensions keep important rate relief measures in effect and relaxes other requirements, including: a Medicare 75/25 blended rate for non-rural, non-CBA suppliers and a 50/50 blended rate for rural suppliers; continued NCD/LCD flexibility allowing expanded use of home-based respiratory products; waivers on face-to-face requirements for some products; expanded use of telehealth; TRICARE rate increases; and extension of state Medicaid waivers and flexibilities.
AAHomecare applauds HHS’ announcement and appreciates the Agency’s efforts to provide clarity for healthcare providers on the anticipated duration of the PHE.
OIG Recommends Using CERT Error Rate to Identify “Error-Prone” Providers
On January 15, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) published the report titled: CMS and Its Contractors Did Not Use Comprehensive Error Rate Testing Program Data To Identify and Focus on Error-Prone Providers. OIG found that CMS and its contractors did not use the data from the Comprehensive Error Rate Testing (CERT) program to review “error-prone” providers between the years 2014-2017. The OIG identified 100 providers that had high error rates in the CERT sample data that CMS should have reviewed and taken corrective action. Of the 100 “error-prone” providers, 64 were DMEPOS suppliers.
The OIG recommended that CMS further review the 100 providers and take appropriate corrective action. The OIG also recommended CMS use the CERT error rate data to identify “error-prone” providers. However, CMS responded that the CERT data has not been useful in their program integrity efforts and disagreed with OIG’s recommendations.
You can find AAHomecare’s summary of the report here.