Act fast on SMART Act, stakeholders say

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Friday, November 15, 2019

WASHINGTON – Industry stakeholders are pushing providers to act fast on a bill delaying the inclusion of non-invasive ventilators in competitive bidding for five years.

They’d like to get as many co-sponsors for the bill, known as the “Safeguarding Medicare Access to Respiratory Therapy (SMART) Act of 2019,” ahead of the upcoming Thanksgiving recess, and they suggest focusing first on the 180 representatives who signed a letter asking CMS to drop vents from the program.

“If you are represented by one of these 180 representatives, please call and/or email healthcare staff in these offices before the Thanksgiving recess (Nov. 22 through Dec. 2), remind them of their legislator’s support for the June 2019 sign-on letter, and ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 4945,” says AAHomecare in a bulletin.

The bill, introduced Oct. 31 by Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., currently has 15 co-sponsors.

Respiratory stakeholders say putting the vents out to bid could cause disruptions in patient care.

“We commend Congressmen Griffith and Welch for their dedication to ensuring vulnerable patients get the care they need,” said Dan Starck, chairman of the Coalition for Quality Respiratory Care and CEO of Apria Healthcare. “Since it is not clear how this new, untested competitive bidding program will affect home oxygen suppliers and their patients, it is inappropriate to include non-invasive ventilation in the system at this time. We applaud this pro-patient legislation, which promotes a cautious, evidence-based approach to covering critical supplies like NIV.”