Group: Final rule didn’t go far enough on liquid oxygen

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

WASHINGTON – A group of patient and physician groups has expressed its disappointment that CMS did not carve out liquid oxygen from its competitive bidding program in a recently released final rule. “Despite CMS’s acknowledgement of the problems facing patients, especially those who require liquid oxygen, we are disappointed that the administration chose not to use its full statutory authority to ensure that all patients who require supplemental oxygen receive the treatment they need, or even respond to our specific and united recommendations to make these needed reforms,” the group stated. Instead, the rule creates a new class for portable liquid oxygen equipment by splitting the existing class of portable gas and portable liquid oxygen, and increases the payment amount for the new class of portable liquid oxygen equipment so that it is the same as the payment amount for oxygen generating portable equipment. Going forward, the group, which includes the American Association for Respiratory Care, American Lung Association and American Thoracic Society, says it plans to work closely with CMS and Congress to ensure both the clinical and quality of life needs of its patients are met and their concerns addressed. “CMS must closely monitor these patients, as well as suppliers, during this gap period and be prepared to change course and use its full statutory authority if patient needs are not met,” the group states. “If they are not, Congress must be prepared to intervene.”