WASHINGTON, DC – The final version of the ESRD/DMEPOS Rule could have a tremendous impact on our industry for years to come, so it’s critical that we make our best case for improving CMS’ reimbursement policy now. For those of you who haven’t commented yet, I’ll share some thoughts below on how you can still make a high-impact impression on CMS by adding your voice to the mix.
But first, I want to reflect on what we’ve accomplished over the last two years to move these potential reforms forward. Through the consistent, persistent, and credible advocacy efforts of HME providers and other stakeholders, we’ve raised Congressional awareness of the problems that deep Medicare reimbursement cuts are causing for providers and patients alike. Your efforts led to the first tangible reimbursement relief for our industry though the CURES Bill in late 2016 and also resulted in the unprecedented outpouring of Congressional interest in moving the recent HME Interim Final Rule forward – giving rural providers another significant measure of relief.
This strong Congressional interest in moving Medicare reimbursement rates for HME towards a sustainable level also helped lead to an ESRD/DMEPOS Proposed Rule that contains important reforms for the bidding program and longer-term relief for rural providers. Obviously, we would like to see additional relief in the final version of the Rule, but even the Proposed Rule as it stands would be another step forward for HME.
While we’ve made strong inroads in changing the narrative on HME in Congress and with the Administration, there are still parties that believe more sustainable reimbursement rates for HME are not warranted. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) is one such group, as evidenced by their comments in the ESRD/DMEPOS Rule, which opposes putting a hold on the next bidding round and relief for rural areas proposed in the rule.
This input from MedPAC and a recent GAO report discounting HME sector claims of patient access issues serves as another reason why we need more stakeholders and HME providers to add their voices to the ESRD/DMEPOS Rule comments. We have an opportunity to achieve some of the most impactful public policy advances for HME in this Rule, so please help us make sure we make our strongest case for sustainable reimbursement rates and bidding program reforms.
There’s Still Time to Make Your Voice Heard – Even a Brief Message About How Current Reimbursement Rates Are Impacting Your Business and Patients Will Make a Difference
We’re down to the home stretch in the comment period for the ESRD/DMEPOS Proposed Rule. For those of you who haven’t shared your comments, there’s still time to add your voice to the comments. I hope that all AAHomecare member companies and others in the HME community will take at least 30 minutes to put together simple comments to share with CMS by Monday, Sept. 10. It doesn’t have to be lengthy to make a strong impression and help our cause.
Quite simply, we just need you to tell CMS what significant rate cuts across the board in recent years have done to your ability to serve patients in your community. Whether you are in a competitive bid area (CBA) or not, you’ve been affected by these rates. A concrete example of how much reimbursement has been cut for you for a certain item or two, contrasted with the costs and complications of providing that product, can tell a compelling story.
If you’ve had to change your business practices or limit your offerings in any way on account of the drastic cuts, you can share that information as well.
After you tell your story, you can make some or all these points (depending on how they apply to your business) to CMS, in your own words:
- You support CMS’ proposal to use maximum winning bids to determine single payment amounts in CBAs.
- Ask CMS to extend the 50-50 blended rate relief they propose for rural areas to all providers in non-bid areas.
- For payments in CBAs during the “gap” period until the next bidding round, ask CMS to add inflation adjustments going back to 2013 for current rates.
- Ask CMS to provide more sustainable reimbursement rates for stationary and liquid oxygen.
That’s all it takes – a brief description of what the current Medicare reimbursement model is doing to your business and how it affects your patients, and how you would like to see it changed or improved. If you haven’t commented yet, please invest at least 30 minutes of your time and add your voice to the comments. We have a chance to enact important policy changes that may impact our industry for years to come – let’s take full advantage of this opportunity.
- Share your comments with CMS hereby 11:59 pm on Sept. 10
- See asummary of AAHomecare’s comments for additional perspective.
Stand Up for Homecare – Oct 16, 2018 – The Glenn Hotel in Atlanta
ATLANTA – Curious what the Stand Up for Homecare campaign accomplishes? Wondering why you should support? Here are three reasons you should purchase a ticket and attend on October 16 at 5:30 at the SkyLounge during Medtrade:
- Networking with HME Leaders– the industry’s top executives, business leaders, and more engaged advocates attend this reception on the first full evening of Medtrade. This is a great opportunity to talk to colleagues and meet new business partners.
- Support of Consumer Advocacy Groups– like United Spinal Association, ITEM Coalition, the National Council on Independent Living, and Paralyzed Veterans of America – organizations that represent many of the patient groups we serve, and are also strong allies on legislative and regulatory priorities.
- Enhanced Public Relations Initiatives– Money raised is used to enhance our grassroots advocacy capabilities, supports high-impact research, and allows us to engage expert legal and regulatory professionals to move the HME agenda forward at the Federal and state level.
Learn more about the campaign and purchase your tickets online today.