The House Tri-Committee introduced H.R. 3200, American’s Affordable Health Choices Act, into the House this week. Currently being marked up by the committees, the legislation doesn’t include additional funding cuts for oxygen providers, but it does include provisions that impact O2 suppliers and the rest of the HME industry.
To begin with, effective on the date of the bill’s enactment, oxygen suppliers in month 27 of the 36-month rental cap period must continue to supply oxygen during the period of medical need to the end of the equipment’s useful lifetime, regardless of the patient’s location, unless another supplier accepts responsibility for the patient.
The act also starts a new 36-month rental period for patients when their supplier is declared bankrupt and its assets are liquidated. The patient must have at least 24 months of rental payments to qualify for a new rental period.
H.R. 3200 waives the surety bond requirement for pharmacies that have had a DME supplier number for at least five years and never had a final adverse action imposed. Additionally it exempts pharmacies that supply diabetic testing supplies, canes, and crutches from the DME accreditation requirement.
Also, where accreditation is concerned, the legislation throws providers a bone by stipulating that any provider that applies for accreditation before Aug. 1 will be deemed as having met the applicable standards until an accrediting organization can render a final decision as to whether it will actually accredit the provider or not.
The House bill also includes provisions related to the first month purchase option for power wheelchairs. Specifically, H.R. 3200 maintains the first month purchase option for group 3 power wheelchairs and above, but the purchase option would be eliminated for standard power wheelchairs.
The National Association of Independent Medical Equipment Suppliers (NAIMES) urged providers opposing the legislation to contact their legislators and express their concerns with H.R. 3200.