Addition of Ventilators to Bidding a ‘Terrifying Development’

Public statement from AAHomcare’s Tom Ryan says including non-invasive ventilators in Round 2021 will hurt access for patients that ‘critically depend’ on them.

CMS’s decision to add non-invasive ventilators to the list of products covered by its recently announced Round 2021 of competitive bidding “will doubtless be seen as a terrifying development by patients and caregivers who critically depend on these products,” according to Tom Ryan, president and CEO of the American Association for Homecare.

“Subjecting these highly specialized, service-intensive products to a reimbursement methodology designed to find the lowest-cost providers will ultimately have the effect of further narrowing the relatively small number of companies that supply ventilators and driving some of the most effective and caring vent providers out of the Medicare program,” Ryan wrote in a public statement released on the heels of CMS’s Round 2021 announcement. “Access to these ventilators will become more limited and many current patients will be separated from companies and respiratory professionals who have been with them for years.”

HMEB readers might recall that up until Dec. 17, 2018, CMS was collecting public comments on its plan to include non-invasive ventilators, as well as off-the-shelf back and knee braces in future rounds of competitive bidding. Ryan noted that respiratory providers, patient groups, clinicians and caregivers shared hundreds of comments with the overarching consensus that the plan would hurt vulnerable patients that depend on these items for life support.

Ryan called for providers to let lawmakers know their concerns.

“It’s clear that we need to rally the ventilator supplier and patient community to significantly raise the volume on this issue with the Administration, on Capitol Hill, and in the media,” he wrote. “Judging from the many suppliers and clinical stakeholders I’ve heard from on this issue since yesterday afternoon, there are a lot of individuals and organizations who will be ready to make sure policymakers understand the impacts of CMS’ action.”

See AAHomecare’s comments from December on CMS’ ventilator proposal.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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