Georgia Congressman Tom Price, M.D., has reintroduced the home oxygen bill that he and Congressman Joe Schwarz, M.D., introduced last year. The bill, again called the Home Oxygen Patient Protection Act, H.R. 621, would amend part B of title XVIII of the Social Security Act to restore the Medicare treatment of ownership of oxygen equipment to that which existed before enactment of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA).
The bill would allow for oxygen beneficiaries to continue to rent an oxygen system for as long as oxygen therapy is required, instead of forcing transfer of responsibility and ownership for the equipment after 36 months of rental, as mandated by the DRA.
In a study conducted for the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare) last year, Morrison Informatics determined that only 28 percent of the cost of home oxygen therapy relates to equipment. The bulk of the cost is for services and overhead required as a part of providing the therapy. Price, a medical doctor, joined AAHomecare in presenting the results of that study to a briefing for congressional staff in the U.S. Capitol last June.
AAHomecare is grateful to Congressman Price for his continuing leadership on this issue and the association salutes the home care providers in Georgia, such as AAHomecare member Todd Tyson, who have worked effectively with their state’s congressional delegation on this issue. Tyson is president of Hi-Tech Healthcare in Norcross, Ga. AAHomecare, state associations and providers will be working with other congressional offices to add co-sponsors to H.R. 621.
“It is significant that we have this important marker in place now since the president’s budget may propose additional cuts to the Medicare home oxygen benefit,” said Tyler Wilson, president and CEO of AAHomecare.