WASHINGTON, DC – AAHomecare and other HME leaders are looking to quickly build co-sponsor support for the recently introduced SMART Act (HR 4945) in the coming weeks to position the bill for inclusion in any potential healthcare omnibus legislation that takes shape in December or January.
The HME community, respiratory stakeholders, and a broad range of patient groups were successful in enlisting 180 House members to sign on to a letter asking CMS to reconsider plans to include non-invasive ventilators (NIV) in competitive bidding Round 2021. If you are represented by one of these 180 Representatives, please call and/or email healthcare staff in these offices before the Thanksgiving recess (Nov. 22 through Dec. 2), remind them of their legislator’s support for the June 2019 sign-on letter, and ask them to co-sponsor HR 4945. If calling, offer to send a copy of their sign-on letter with the legislator’s signature (noting the page #, if possible).
- Here is a link to the letter with signatures.
- The complete list of 180 signees by state can be found here.
Messaging for Your Calls and Emails
Non-invasive ventilators require a high level of service and monitoring to support medically fragile patients. Putting NIV in the bidding program will reduce the ranks of experienced providers who support these vulnerable patient populations and ultimately lead to increased need for hospitalizations and other costly clinical interventions.
No other “frequent and substantial servicing” items are currently included in the bidding program. Including NIV in the bidding program will be a major departure from CMS’ long-standing practice of keeping these products out of the bidding program.
Major patient groups and respiratory stakeholders have voiced their opposition to including non-invasive ventilators in the bidding program, including the ALS Association, the American Lung Association, the American College of Chest Physicians, the COPD Foundation, the Council for Quality Respiratory Care, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the ITEM Coalition, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, United Spinal Association, and more.
The SMART Act will allow patients to benefit from advances in ventilator technology by delaying the inclusion of ventilators from the Medicare competitive bidding program for home medical equipment and creating a technical expert panel to assist HHS and CMS in developing a comprehensive Medicare coverage policy for ventilator products used at home.
Additional Resources to share with House members & legislative staffers
- Multi-Stakeholder Letter Supporting the SMART Act/HR 4995 (Oct. 2019)
- ITEM Coalition Letter (June 2019)
- Multi-Stakeholder Group Letter Against NIV in CB (May 2019)
- ALS Association Statement (Apr. 2019)
- AAHomecare NIV Issue Brief
You can also encourage your colleagues and others to use our Action Center to send an email to Congress with pre-written, customizable messaging supporting HR 4945.
See updated co-sponsor list here.
The HME community and patient groups made a strong case for keeping NIV out of the bidding program as demonstrated by the strong support for the sign-on letter. Let’s build on these efforts and grow the co-sponsor rolls for the SMART Act.
Please contact Gordon Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org for contact information for House healthcare staffers and assistance with your messaging.