Providers Urged to Back Nascent Rural Relief Bill

Rep. McMorris Rodgers has asked AAHomecare and HME providers to push for a large number of original co-sponsors for a bill that would address rural relief, oxygen double-dip.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) have released a draft of the legislative language for their rural relief bill, and are calling on HME industry advocates and providers to help lobby lawmakers to sign on as original co-sponsors.

The bill would provide relief to rural and non-bid areas that had been impacted by the national expansion of competitive bidding, as well as rectify the “double-dip” cuts on oxygen. The legislation has two key thrusts:

  • It would effectively roll back the second round of cuts for non-bid area suppliers, effective retroactively to January 1, 2017 and through 2018.
  • It would address rate cuts caused by the misapplication of a 2006 budget neutrality offset balancing increased utilization for oxygen generating portable equipment with lower reimbursement for stationary equipment.

To help providers lobby lawmakers to co-sponsor the bill, the American Association for Homecare collected a list of talking points:

  • Please sign-on as an original co-sponsor for legislation from Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dave Loebsack that would provide relief for home medical equipment suppliers serving rural communities.
  • HME companies in rural communities are struggling to maintain a high level of service and provide a range of quality products under this unsustainable pricing model that does not consider the extra cost and staff time required to serve patients spread over less densely populated areas.  
  • Rolling back a portion of 2016’s drastic cuts for suppliers not in competitive bidding areas [cuts of 50% or more for many commonly used product categories] would allow HME suppliers [and/or your company in particular] to continue to serve these communities, giving seniors, people with disabilities, and individuals with chronic conditions the ability to remain in their homes and lessen the need for hospital stays and other costly clinical interventions.
  • The legislation would also remedy rate cuts for rural oxygen providers caused by an outdated 2006 budget neutrality offset that is causing rates to go even lower than competitive bidding rates in some cases.
  • Congressional offices interested in signing on to the bill can contact staff in Rep. McMorris Rodgers' office for more information or to sign on.

AAhomecare has also updated is issue briefs on Rural Relief Legislation  the oxygen double-dip to help providers in their discussions. The draft legislative language and the results of the patient access study should also serve as useful support materials.

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