Burr, Bennet Launch Wound Care Legislation

Bill aims to update CMS payment rules to add disposable NPWT devices to product options for at-home wound care and standardize payment method for NPWT devices.

Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) have introduced the Better Wound Care at Home Act into the Senate, bipartisan legislation that would update CMS payment rules regarding home-based wound care.

The Better Wound Care at Home Act would put disposable items such as disposable negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) devices on par with non-disposable NPWT devices by standardizing the payment methodology nationally.

The new bill would apply a neutral area wage index for payments made to home health agencies (HHAs), clarify that payments to HHAs for disposable NPWT devices are to be made for the device itself, not accompanying professional services, and reduce administrative burdens by streamlining the billing forms.

The bill is a companion to legislation launched in the House of Representatives on April 5 by Representatives G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) and Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.).

Sens. Burr and Bennett have been pushing to update DMEPOS coverage for several years. The Better Wound Care at Home Act is rooted in 2015 legislation the Senators introduced which was called The Patient Access to Disposable Medical Technology Act. The 2015 Act aimed to modernize DMEPOS coverage to include disposable technologies in home healthcare settings. That legislation ultimately became law as part of a larger appropriations bill.

“Outdated Medicare payment methods and billing rules shouldn’t limit treatment options for Americans,”  Sen. Burr said. “It’s important that seniors receiving care at home have access to the most up-to-date and innovative treatments. This legislation will ensure just that by modernizing CMS payment policies to make disposable wound treatments as readily accessible as non-disposable treatments.”

“The need for at-home treatment has been underscored during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sen. Bennet added. “We can improve the health and quality of life of our seniors by giving them access to appropriate care that incorporates cutting-edge technology from the comfort of their homes. This bipartisan legislation will help home health care workers provide their patients with the best, highest-quality care in their own homes while reducing hospital visits and health care costs.”

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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