House Sign-On Letter Continues Gathering Traction
Letter to Price, Verma calling for various bid reforms now boast more than 100 lawmakers’ signatures.
- By David Kopf
- Jun 08, 2017
A congressional sign-on letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and CMS Administrator Seema Verma calling for regulatory reforms to protect DME and CRT benefits now has 101 signatures attached to it, according to the American Association for Homecare.
Originally launched by a bipartisan collection of House co-authors including Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) the letter (available as a PDF) identifies four key reforms:
- Base the blended, 50/50 rate in rural and non-bid areas on the Jan. 1, 2016 pricing, rather than the July 1, 2016 pricing, and extend that pricing structure into 2019.
- Use the formal rulemaking process to reform competitive bidding to fix a number of flaws in the program.
- Bring a complete stop the competitive bidding-derived cuts to complex rehab wheelchair accessories, the implementation or which is currently only delayed until July 1.
- Stop applying a budget neutrality offset to reimbursement for oxygen concentrators in rural and non-bid areas, which was reduced funding for those items to rates below that of competitive bidding rates (the so-called oxygen “double dip”).
Both The VGM Group and the American Association for Homecare are urging providers to reach out to their Representatives in the House and urge them to sign the letter.
"If you haven’t yet contacted your Representative in the House on this issue, please do so as soon as possible to help us finish with a strong showing on the letter," a recent statement from AAHomecare read. "Democrats make up about one fifth of the members of Congress signing on at this point, so if you’re represented by a Democrat (or met with Democrats at the recent Washington Legislative Conference), please make an extra effort to help increase support from that side of the aisle."
Providers can find additional information and tools for sending messages to their Representatives at online Action Centers from VGM and from AAHomecare.
People for Quality Care has posted a new web page in its Grassroots Action Center that helps patients and caregivers quickly send an email to their Congress members calling for them to add their signatures to the sign-on letter.
David Kopf is the Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.