AAHomecare: Contact Your Senators Right Away

The association is urging HME stakeholders to tell their Senators this week to extend the pause the CARES Act placed on Medicare’s longstanding 2 percent sequestration cut.

The American Association for Homecare is calling on HME providers to contact their Senators to extend the soon-to-expire suspension of a reimbursement cut as part of their efforts this week to pass an end-of-the-year omnibus spending bill.

Among its various provisions, the CARES Act currently suspends a longstanding 2 percent sequestration cut on Medicare fee-for-service payment. The 2 percent cut has been in effect since the 2012 Sequestration Transparency Act, as part of a deal to get out from under the debt ceiling at the time.

The CARES Act put a pause on those cuts to help DMEPOS suppliers and other Medicare providers and suppliers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. However, the suspension only impacts claims with dates of service between May 1 and Dec. 31.

However, legislation that was initially launched in the House by Reps. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) and David McKinley (R-W.V.) would extend the suspension of the 2 percent sequestration cuts for the length of the public health emergency. Now the provisions in those bills are “still in play” in ongoing discussions on end-of-year omnibus legislation.

“AAHomecare encourages the HME community to continue outreach to Senators of both parties to support the effort,” a statement from the association read. “Specifically, AAHomecare requests that HME stakeholders urge your Senators to weigh in with Senate Leadership and ask for an extension of the Medicare sequester moratorium until the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.”

To help HME stakeholders in their effort, AAHomecare provided a sample message:

Dear Senator _______

Please reach out to Senate Leadership as soon as possible to seek a continuation of the pause on the 2% Medicare sequester cuts for healthcare providers in any year-end legislative packages.

Provisions from the Medicare Sequester COVID Moratorium Act (H.R. 8840) would continue a pause of 2% Medicare sequester cuts through the duration of the Public Health Emergency (PHE). In April, Congress halted the 2% sequester cuts, but only through Dec. 31, 2020.

That broad-based relief has helped every part of the healthcare continuum that is serving patients during the pandemic. It has been especially welcome by HME suppliers who are providing essential respiratory care to individuals directly impacted by COVID-19 and are also helping reduce the stress on hospitals and clinicians by providing home-based care to seniors and other patient cohorts who are especially at risk if they contract this disease.

Please ask Senate Leadership to include extending the moratorium on Medicare sequester cuts as a part of year-end legislation.

More information and resources can be found at AAHomecare’s Action Center.

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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