House Sign-on Letter Calls for Rural Relief IFR
Providers urged to help lobby lawmakers to back letter asking OMB Director to clear Interim Final Rule that would resume blended rates for rural providers.
- By David Kopf
- Sep 21, 2017
Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (R-Wash.) has launched a House sign-on letter calling on Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to clear an HME-related Interim Final Rule (IFR) that would bring much-needed relief to rural HME providers.
Currently under review at OMB, the IFR, would resume the 50/50, blended fee schedule for rural and non-bid areas that was in effect during the phase-in of national bid expansion during Jan. 1, 2016 to June 30, 2016.
While the CURES Act retroactively applied the blended rates to claims filed from July 1, 2016 to Jan. 1, 2017, rural and non-bid area providers are currently under the full cut rates.
Rep. McMorris-Rodgers’s letter asks the OMB to extend rates to the end of 2018. (The full text is available at http://bit.ly/2jOmyH7)
"We strongly urge you to take quick action and clear this rule to provide relief in non-competitive bidding areas,” the sign-on letter reads. “Specifically, we urge you to extend reimbursement rates effective on January 1, 2016 in non-competitive bid areas from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2018."
A statement from the American Association for Homecare noted that such an IFR could help in more ways than one.
“While we are not privy to the actual language of the IFR currently under review, we anticipate that it could provide welcome relief for providers outside of bid areas,” the statement read, “and we would expect that these higher rates would also help bolster rates from other payers who use the Medicare fee schedule as a guideline for their reimbursements.”
The deadline to collect signatures is Sept. 26, and AAHomecare urged providers to contact their Representatives and ask them to sign the letter. The association noted that members of the House who signed the June 2017 letter to HHS and CMS on HME policy priorities would be candidates for joining this sign-on campaign. A list of them is available at http://bit.ly/2wL0T3X.
David Kopf is the Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.