Proposed 2021 Federal Budget Could Impact DME

Industry groups still reviewing budget administration’s budget, but suggested provisions include a reform and expansion of competitive bidding.

The proposed budget for the fiscal year 2021 issued by the White House earlier this week contains several items that could impact HME providers and their patients.

The budget has yet to go through Congressional review and resolution, a process that typically sees various provisions altered or removed.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published an accompanying Budget in Brief that highlights the budget’s healthcare-related proposals. The American Association for Homecare reported in its review of the brief that it found 15 items that directly impacted the HME industry.

AAHomecare and VGM Government Relations both released statements identifying a few top-tier budget proposals worth emphasizing:

  • Reform and expansion of competitive bidding. The budget proposes that starting in 2024, single payment amounts will be based on individual winning bidder’s bid amount (rather than the maximum winning bid methodology employed in Round 2021). It also expands competitive bidding to other geographic areas, including rural areas. This item was included in the previous year’s budget, but this time it includes a timeframe
  • A 10 percent reduction from HHS 2020 enacted levels. The budget requests $94.5 billion for HHS, which marks a 10-percent decline from the 2020 level. The budget proposes $1.6 trillion in net mandatory health savings to reduce longer-term deficits by cutting spending.
  • Rural health access improvements. The budget proposes to expand access to telemedicine services by offering increased flexibility to providers who serve predominantly rural or vulnerable patient populations. The budget also would modify payments to Rural Health Clinics to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries continue to receive primary care services in their communities.
  • Use of retail price information for DME fee schedule rates. The budget would use available retail prices to create the DME fee schedules. This would negatively impact DME prices. Also, this methodology does not take into account the associated services that Medicare DME suppliers offer. 


About the Author

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


Wed, Feb 26, 2020 A. Butler Mississippi

What should we be doing as a DME provider if expansion is already in the budget proposal for 2021? Is it too late to take CBP for rural areas out of the proposal?

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