Report: O2 Care Hurting and Bidding Could Be the Cause

A report from the American Thoracic Society calls for further analysis into relation between competitive bidding and problems with oxygen patients’ care.

Patients and clinicians are reporting a number of problems with home oxygen and healthcare providers are seeing a decline in the number of resources when prescribing oxygen equipment, according to findings from an American Thoracic Society Workshop Report.

The report, Optimizing Home Oxygen Therapy, also says that analysis must be done to see if the problems oxygen patients and their physicians are reporting is the result of competitive bidding.

“Analysis is needed to quantify the unintended impact that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services competitive bidding (CB) policy has had on patients receiving supplemental oxygen from DME providers,” the report noted.

Some other findings:

  • Oxygen users frequently experience significant functional, mechanical, financial and educational problems related to their oxygen equipment that decrease their quality of life. The report said these problems were “clinically unacceptable.”
  • Many healthcare providers that prescribe oxygen lack the resources and knowledge needed to prescribe oxygen delivery systems and devices correctly and efficiently to meet their patients’ needs
  • More transparency is needed in the processes and criteria that qualify DME personnel to educate patients about oxygen therapy and around how DME companies define, assess and address quality assurance metrics.

“These findings come at an opportune time as we work with HME stakeholders and clinical groups to advocate for better real-time monitoring practices from CMS to capture the true impacts of reimbursement cuts,” said AAHomecare President and CEO Tom Ryan. “A comprehensive monitoring program based on quantitative data, feedback from case managers, and measures of beneficiary satisfaction is needed to better inform legislators, regulators, and the general public on how the bidding program is affecting patient care and our healthcare delivery infrastructure”

The ATS’s report can be downloaded as a PDF at

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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