WASHINGTON, DC – AAHomecare is urging HME suppliers and other industry stakeholders to educate their Congressional representatives on the potential impacts of moving forward with Round 2021 of the competitive bidding program and enlist their support for a delay in implementing the program.
As HME suppliers across the country have reported in a recent survey, the industry is facing a new business environment in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with higher costs, supply chain challenges, and new operational challenges and requirements to help keep HME professionals and patients safe. Put simply: bids HME companies submitted in the Fall of 2019 for the next bidding round will not reflect new realities for the healthcare industry in 2021 and beyond.
While CMS and HHS have provided a welcome measure of financial relief and relaxed requirements to help our industry respond to the pandemic, they have not moved off plans to move forward with implementing Round 2021 on January 1, 2021.
AAHomecare believes it is time to raise awareness of the impacts of moving forward with the bidding program on Capitol Hill and is asking suppliers to contact their Senators and Representatives with this request: Please urge CMS to pause the Bidding Program for at least one year to allow the HME community to make its strongest possible contribution to supporting individuals and communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. If CMS is unwilling or unable to pause the program, I ask that you support legislation to delay the Bidding Program.
You can also use these materials in developing your outreach to Capitol Hill:
- Issue Brief: Congressional Action Needed to Delay Competitive Bidding Program for Durable Medical Equipment
- Talking Points: Competitive Bidding Round 2021 and COVID-19
- You can also encourage your colleagues, friends, and other contacts to use our Action Center to send an email to Capitol Hill in support of delaying Round 2021. Users can edit the draft letter provided to include their own perspectives and experiences.
HME suppliers have played a major role in directly treating patients with COVID-19 and other respiratory challenges in their homes and have also continued to provide the full spectrum of HME products, supplies, and related services that reduce the burdens on hospitals, as well as nursing care and senior living facilities. The HME industry needs to focus on maintaining and building capacity in the coming months rather than getting ready to cut capacity when bid results and contracts are set to be announced this summer. Please reach out to your Senators and Representatives on this important issue.
Contact Gordon Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance in crafting your messages or finding contact information for your legislators.
HHS Announces Relief for Medicaid & CHIP Providers
WASHINGTON, DC – The Department of Health and Human Services has earmarked $15 billion in relief funding for health care providers serving patients under Medicaid and CHIP programs. In their release and in updated Provider Relief Fund FAQs, the Agency stresses that this relief is only for healthcare providers who have directly billed their state Medicaid/CHIP programs or Medicaid managed care plans between Jan. 1, 2018 and May 31, 2020, and have not received a payment from the Medicare-based $50 billion general distribution.
AAHomecare recently encouraged HHS to make sure HME suppliers were included in any Medicaid-based relief distributions. There is no language in the current guidance on the Provider Relief Fund website or the related FAQs that indicates that HME suppliers will not be eligible for this round (just as HME suppliers were eligible in Medicare-based relief rounds).
Eligible providers will need to submit financial documentation in the new Targeted Distribution Provider Relief Fund Payment Portal by July 3, 2020. The application portal is expected to be available today (Wednesday, June 10), according to HHS.
The Medicaid Targeted Distribution methodology will be based upon 2% of gross revenues from patient care for CY 2017, 2018, or 2019, as selected by the applicant and with accompanying submitted tax documentation.
The new guidance related to the Medicaid/CHIP based relief can be found on pages 32-35 of the Provider Relief Fund FAQs.
Supplier Numbers Remain Steady
WASHINGTON, DC – AAHomecare updated the supplier number tracking sheet with April 2020 data. The estimated number of traditional Medicare DMEPOS suppliers have remained steady. Overall, there’s still a 35% decrease in supplier locations since 2010. You can find AAHomecare’s supplier number tracking sheet and “heat-map” here.
AAHomecare Responds to DMEPOS-Related Issues in FY 2021 Budget Proposal
WASHINGTON, DC – This week, AAHomecare submitted a response to the Fiscal Year 2021 President’s Budget in Brief that was published by the Department of Health and Human Services earlier this year. AAHomecare identified 14 proposals that impact the DMEPOS industry and developed a response to each of them. One of the most concerning proposals involves expanding competitive bidding to all areas, including rural areas, and paying each winning bidder its own bid amount. AAHomecare strongly opposed this proposal as it will further deteriorate access to needed equipment and suppliers. In addition, AAHomecare requested that CMS delay the implementation of Round 2021 considering the current pandemic and survey results from the Impact of COVID-19 Supply Chain Disruptions and Increased Costs on DMEPOS Suppliers report. You can find AAHomecare’s letter here.