AAHomecare Rounds up Industry Issues in Play
While COVID-19 is at the fore of the industry’s mind, the next four months offer the industry to notch some policy wins on non-bid area rates, taxes on Cares relief, and CRT accessories
- By David Kopf
- Aug 13, 2020
When it comes to Medicare policy, the COVID-19 public health emergency might be dominating the conversation, but that doesn’t mean it is the only item on the industry’s agenda.
The American Association for Homecare outlined several key policy efforts currently in play that the industry could push across the finish line during the 116ht Congress’s final four months:
Round 2021 Delay
Thanks to HME stakeholders’ grassroots lobbying, the industry secured 101 signatures from House lawmakers on a sing-on letter urging CMS and HSS to delay Round 2021 of competitive bidding. Furthermore, the industry secured those signatures in a very short turnaround time.
AAHomecare urged providers to continue the outreach by thanking the lawmakers that did sign and reminding those who did not can still join the effort.
“If your Representative is one of the 101 signers, please send a brief note to the healthcare staffer in that office thanking them for signing on,” AAHomecare noted in a public statement. “If they are not among the signers, you can still ask them to contact CMS directly using this pre-written note on our Action Center.”
In May 2019, Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) launched Protecting Home Oxygen & Medical Equipment (HOME) Act of 2019 to extend rural and non-bid area relief, as well as protect oxygen funding. Currently at 75 co-sponsors, the bill would:
· Permanently implement the blended, 50/50 rural relief rate after 2020.
· Provide additional relief for non-rural, non-bid areas with a 75/25 blended rate (75 percent competitive bidding rates and 25 percent unadjusted fee schedule rates).
· Remove the budget neutrality offset for oxygen that was implemented in 2017.
“Our champions in the House have let us know they are still invested in securing permanent relief for rural and other non-CBA suppliers, as well as eliminating an outdated oxygen budget neutrality requirement impacting rural O2 rates,” an AAHomecare statement noted. “The lead sponsors for the bill have suggested that building additional co-sponsor support for H.R. 2771 will increase the prospects that provisions from this bill can be included in other omnibus legislative packages before the end of the year.”
AAHomecare has provided an issue brief, a list of the 66 lawmakers who co-sponsored rural relief legislation in the 115th Congress but have not yet co-sponsored H.R. 2771 as primary co-sponsor targets, and a pre-written letter to help ease providers’ outreach.
Dubbed the Eliminating the Provider Relief Tax Penalties Act of 2020, this legislation would ensure that healthcare providers don’t lose 20 percent or more of the CARES Act relief they received to taxes. This would ensure that they CARES Act funds providers received would go toward enabling them to care for patients during the pandemic.
Currently, the bill only has 10 co-sponsors, and the association is calling on providers to urge their Representative to add his or her signature.
Manual CRT Accessories
Last but not least, Reps. John Larson (D-Conn.) and Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) launched another House sign-on letter calling on CMS to permanently exclude manual CRT accessories from bidding-derived pricing. Various industry stakeholders all asking providers to reach out to their representatives to ask them to add their signatures.
“Without action, manual CRT accessories could see rate reductions as early as July 2021,” AAHomecare noted. “Suppliers and stakeholders in the mobility sector can ask their Representatives to join the letter, which will remain open until Aug. 31.”
Some key links to help providers with their outreach:
David Kopf is the Publisher HME Business, DME Pharmacy and Mobility Management magazines. He was Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy from 2008 to 2023. Follow him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/dkopf/ and on Twitter at @postacutenews.