AAHomecare Fights 'Double Dip' O2 Cuts

Association continues efforts to get non-bid providers relief from extra-low reimbursement for stationary oxygen.

The American Association for Homecare is continuing its fight to get relief for rural and other non-bid-area respiratory providers who have been hit by CMS’s “double dip” on reimbursement cuts for stationary oxygen.

The extra-low rates originate from CMS applying a 2006 budget neutrality offset that aimed to balance increased use for portable oxygen devices that generate the own oxygen by lowering reimbursement for stationary equipment. However, the cuts, which are part of the the 2017 Medicare fee schedule, actually result in rates for non-bid area providers that are lower than the rates in many competitive bidding areas.

Originally highlighting the concern in a December letter to CMS’s outgoing associate general counsel, Janice Hoffman, AAHomecare reports that it is now engaging new HHS and CMS leadership on the issue.

“We would like to reinforce these efforts by generating Congressional interest and support on the issue as well,” a statement from the association read.

To that end, the association is urging providers being impacted by the double dip to express their concerns to their respective lawmakers, and ask those Senators and Representatives to contract CMS on their behalf.

In addition to describing how the cuts affect their business, the  association outlined these key talking points for provider advocates:

  1. Medicare improperly reduced payments for E1390 concentrators by applying a regulation introduced in 2006 that should only be applied to unadjusted fee schedules. 
  2. CMS’ inappropriate application of the budget neutrality offset has resulted in rural and non-bid area rates being lower than CBA rates in many cases.
  3.  The 2017 adjusted fee schedule payments for stationary oxygen equipment must be consistent with those based on regional average single payment amounts from the CBAs.

The association also generated a comparison of the rural and non-bid area rates to selected bid area rates to provide additional insight on the issue.

AAHomecare member providers needing help  in crafting their messages message or in need of contact information for House and Senate healthcare legislative assistants can contact AAHomecare’s Gordon Barnes at gordonb@aahomecare.org.  

About the Author

David Kopf is the Editor of HME Business.

Comments

Wed, May 3, 2017 Pearl Comeaux New Iberia, Louisiana

I find it sad that our congress voted themselves automatic pay raises every year. In 2009 congress got a pay raise of $4,700. Our Medicare gets steep cuts, our military, who lay their lives on the line daily, get a lousy 1.2 % pay increase. Social Security does the same, then increases the cost of our Medicare insurance payments. The pay increases the congress gets doesn't count all the perks they get. We vote them in to do a job then they hire aids to take over half the work they should be doing. Still these same people make cuts to our Medicare, DME companies, refuse to give decent pay increases to our military and social security recipients, which these people have worked and put into. There's something very very wrong with this picture.

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