H.R. 4229 Tops 150 Backers

As more lawmakers sign-on, industry continues lobbying push being legislation that would provide stronger rural relief than recent IFR.

A total of 152 representatives have signed on as co-sponsors of H.R. 4229, the Protecting HOME Access Act, which aims to provide greater relief for rural and non-bid providers impacted by the national expansion of competitive bidding rates.

The uptake has resulted from the industry’s redoubled lobbying efforts on behalf of the legislation after CMS’s recently released interim final rule (IFR) provided more limited, temporary rural relief than H.R. 4229.

Both H.R. 4229 and the IFR effectively roll back the second round of cuts for all non-bid area providers and apply the transitional 50/50 blend of the Jan. 1, 2016 rate and the adjusted fee schedule. However, the two solutions differ in key ways.

  • The bill covers all rural and non-bid areas, as well as non-contiguous non-bid areas (Alaska, Hawaii and U.S. territories). The IFR only applies to rural and non-contiguous non-bid areas.
  • The bill retroactively to Jan. 1, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2018. By comparison, the IFR only provides relief for claims filed between June 1, 2018 and Dec. 31, 2018.
  • The bill 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. The IFR only goes as far as recognizing the issue as a problem, but stipulates that CMS doesn’t have a legal mandate to do anything about it.

The intensified push began during the American Association for Homecare’s recent May 23-24 Washington Legislative Conference, at which providers hit Capitol Hill with H.R. 4229 advocacy at the top of their agenda. The association is urging provider to maintain that outreach so that more Representatives sing onto the legislation.

“If any House members or staff that you met with at the legislative conference (or that you engaged in another setting) expressed support or interest in H.R. 4229, but are not yet listed as a co-sponsor, please take this opportunity to follow up again,” a statement from the association read.

To help providers educate lawmakers and staff on why they should get behind H.R. 4229, AAHomecare released a one-page comparison of H.R. 4229 and the IFR available at bit.ly/2HP2Qlm. The full text of the bill, a list of co-sponsors and other information on H.R. 4229 is available at bit.ly/2znFN0j.

 

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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