WASHINGTON, DC – In a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee last week, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) [pictured] asked HHS Secretary nominee Alex Azar about HME-related issues. AAHomecare had encouraged members of the Senate Finance Committee to include questions on the IFR and competitive bidding reform in their questions for the nominee. You can see a video clip of the questions and response here; a lightly-edited transcript of the exchange follows below:
Sen. Thune: As you know, I’ve been supportive of finding solutions to address the application of Medicare competitive bidding rates in non-competitively bid areas, an issue that South Dakota medical equipment providers report has caused supplier closures and gaps in Medicare beneficiary access. HHS was supposed to issue a report to Congress, per the 21st Century Cures Act, on beneficiary access by January 12, 2017. I am not aware of the report as being completed, so I would like to request that once confirmed, you would work to have that report completed quickly. Additionally, if confirmed, will you commit to working with the Office of Management & Budget to quickly approve the Interim Final Rule to provide relief for rural providers that has been pending since October of 2017?
Alex Azar: Yes Senator, I would be happy to work on those issues.
AAHomecare Asks CMS for Additional Guidance on Medicaid Rates
WASHINGTON, DC – As we reported last week, CMS has allowed states additional time to determine plans to comply with CURES-related provisions cutting the Federal Medicaid reimbursement allowable for Medicaid. While AAHomecare appreciates CMS taking HME stakeholder concerns into consideration and issuing updated guidance, we are urging the Agency to take additional steps to assist state Medicaid agencies in the transition process.
- Publish the complete list of HCPCS codes targeted in the CURES legislation.
- Publish the appendices to their regulatory guidance.
- Update the guidance appendices to give states a third option for state plan amendment language that states can update their Medicaid fee schedules only for the rates on the published HCPCS list.
Support Available for Your Engagement with Medicaid Officials
If you are meeting with state Medicaid officials, please contact Laura Williard, AAHomecare’s vice president for payer relations at LauraW@aahomecare.org. She is happy to serve as a resource for your discussions and may be able to help identify someone with relevant experience to join your meetings with these officials.