Bid relief bill drops

Industry races to rack up co-sponsors
 - 
Monday, November 6, 2017

WASHINGTON – It’s official: A bill that would provide relief from competitive bidding in non-bid areas has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., introduced H.R. 4229, the Protecting Home Oxygen & Medical Equipment Access Act, aka the Protecting HOME Access Act, on Thursday afternoon with 53 original co-sponsors, according to AAHomecare.

“The strong original co-sponsor support for this legislation demonstrates Congress’ appreciation of the urgent need to get back to a sustainable reimbursement schedule for suppliers serving patients in rural communities,” said Tom Ryan, president & CEO of the association.

The bill would extend a retroactive delay of a second round of reimbursement cuts from Jan. 1, 2017, to Jan. 1, 2019, as well as address a “double-dip” reimbursement cut to oxygen therapy.

AAHomecare urges providers to contact their representatives to co-sponsor the bill now, with little time left in the year.

“There’s no getting around the fact there are a lot of other issues competing for attention on Capitol Hill as we enter the last two months of the year,” Ryan said. “It’s critical that the HME community makes its voice heard in support of this bill over the next few weeks to build support for this bill.”

A good talking point for providers: a recent survey of Medicare beneficiaries, discharge planners and providers that found the competitive bidding program has significantly reduced access to HME.

CMS rolled out its competitive bidding program nationwide in two rounds on Jan. 1, 2016, and July 1, 2016. The second round was retroactively delayed to Jan. 1, 2017, per a provision in the 21st Century Cures Act.