AAHomecare Issues Phone Script For Providers Opposing Oxygen Cuts
In order to combat the proposed cap to non-portable oxygen equipment to 13 or 18 months in the Children's Health and Medicare bill, H.R. 3162, AAHomecare has compiled a script for providers to call their state representatives in D.C.
Providers can call their Representative in the House of Representatives immediately. The Capitol switchboard is (202)224-3121.
Sample calling script:
"My name is ____________. My company serves (number) of individuals with oxygen services in the (city name) area. Please tell the House Ways and Means and the Energy and Commerce Committee to leave oxygen cuts out of the "Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act."
There are many reasons to leave more cuts to oxygen therapy out of this bill:
More cuts put more seniors at risk and could lead to unnecessary hospital admissions and ER visits due to improper oxygen saturation.
Most Medicare home oxygen patients need oxygen to treat a debilitating pulmonary disease, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, (COPD) which is incurable.
The average home oxygen patient is more than 70 years old and female.
Home oxygen is distinctly different from hospital beds and crutches. Medical grade oxygen is regulated by the FDA as a drug, and is heavily regulated by the Department of Transportation due to safety concerns.
Since the average length of treatment for Medicare home oxygen is 24 months, the estimated percent of patients who require home oxygen beyond 13 months is 50 to 60 percent, or 500,000 to 600,000 beneficiaries.
A shorter cap on oxygen will force over half of Medicare's home oxygen patients to own their own equipment and thus be responsible for recalls, maintenance and service requirements, not to mention maneuvering heavy oxygen tanks.
Patient choice will also be seriously curtailed. For example, if a patient's needs change after 13 months, they are stuck with the equipment they were forced to own at 13 months.
Reimbursement of oxygen therapy has already been cut by approximately 50 percent over the past decade.
If you encounter resistance along the lines of "we have to find money to pay for children's health insurance," homecare advocates should argue that:
Raising the tax on tobacco further would remove the need for additional cuts to oxygen therapy reimbursement, which is cost-effective, preferred by patients, and is part of the solution to Medicare's funding problems.
This article originally appeared in the July 2007 issue of HME Business.