H.R. 6331— A Breath of Fresh Air
If competitive bidding had not been delayed, oxygen services and DME would be moving in a entirely different direction as it relates to the patient and the provider.
Inogen senior vice president of sales and marketing Scott Wilkinson, says that before H.R. 6331 was passed patients had just started to receive letters from suppliers informing them of the changes that were coming down the road.
“They [patients] were very confused and very concerned,” he says. “It seems that some of the physician community was confused and concerned, too. Frankly, I thought it was going to be a big mess.”
SeQual CEO Ron Richard agrees. “I don’t think a lot of patients knew what was going to happen to them,” he says. “I think a lot of them were aware that the title transfer was in place, but they weren’t up to date on a number of issues like the changes to Medicare coverage and policies.”
If the repeal of ownership would have never taken place, Wilkinson believes that suppliers would have been less eager to repair equipment and patients would have probably noticed more out-of-pocket expenses.
“Delaying competitive bidding was the right thing to do, and I’d like to see it completely shelved in favor of setting the proper reimbursement schedules ongoing and not having a bid process that disqualifies players,” he says. “Now it looks like everybody gets to play for at least another 18 months. You’ll see some people move ahead with at least converting their business model. A lot of people have been in a holding pattern for several months to see how things would shake out. But now we’re seeing people start to move ahead a little bit.”
This article originally appeared in the September 2008 issue of HME Business.