56 Lawmakers Back Sign-on Letter

AAHomecare push to adopt H.R. 4229 language garners support from Representatives from across the country.

A total of 46 Representatives added their signatures to a House sign-on letter calling for Congress to add legislative language that would protect rural and non-bid area patients and providers to upcoming legislation.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) released the letter in February, asking key committee chairs and ranking members of the House to support adding language from H.R. 4229 into upcoming legislation that would keep the government funded.

H.R. 4229 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.

In the letter, McMorris asserts to her colleagues that H.R. 4229 would continue a fix that was started (and since expired) in the 21st Century Cures Act, legislation they’ve already passed:

"Due to mounting concerns about access to this cost-effective and patient-preferred method of care, especially in non-CBAs or rural America, Congress intervened and included language in the 21st Century Cures Act to extend the reimbursement rates in effect on Jan. 1, 2016 through Dec. 31, 2016,” the letter notes. “This provided retroactive relief to DME suppliers, but on Jan. 1, 2017, the full reimbursement cut went back into effect. These cuts fail to consider the unique attributes of health care in rural America, which have distinct cost difference from their urban counterparts; and are stripping communities of DME resources. It’s estimated that over 40 percent of traditional DME companies nationwide have either closed or are no longer taking Medicare patients due to these unsustainable payment cuts." 

Upon the letter’s release, the American Association for Homecare organized an industry-wide push to help industry advocates and providers lobby lawmakers to support the letter.

“Thanks to the strong grassroots response from HME communities, the Congressional sign-on letter endorsing HME priorities closed with 56 Members of Congress on board – a strong showing, given the fact that the letter was only open for a week,” a statement from AAHomecare read. “In addition, we’ve heard several reports from AAHomecare members who spoke with staffers for Representatives on the Appropriations Committee who indicated they would let Committee leadership know that they endorsed this request directly.”

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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