Industry, CMS need to ‘have conversation’ about disaster relief

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Friday, September 28, 2018

WASHINGTON – The havoc wrought by Hurricane Florence in September highlighted, once again, the need for policy changes in disaster situations, say HME stakeholders.

“What gets lost (is the need) to get better reimbursement to take care of people in devastated areas,” said Bill Guidetti, executive vice president, East Zone, Apria Healthcare. “There are a lot of hidden costs.”

Guidetti serves on an AAHomecare work group that was formed in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which soaked the Houston area with nearly 50 inches of rain and caused massive flooding in August 2017.

The work group has prioritized a list of issues—and the history and rationale behind those issues—to present to CMS. It hopes the agency will consider the list and determine whether or not it can fix the issues using regulation, says Kim Brummett.

“We need to have the conversation within different areas of CMS to see if we can move forward,” said Brummett, vice president of regulatory affairs for AAHomecare.

At the top of the list of issues: the increased costs of delivering equipment and services during a disaster due to challenges like increased gas prices and road closures. Guidetti is working with AAHomecare’s Dobson DaVanzo study to come up with some numbers specific to costs in a disaster to bolster the industry’s case.

“You’ll have companies like Penske, who do a great job getting into the disaster area and setting up temporary gas fill-ups but the surcharge on that is three times the normal cost,” he said.

 

Comments

I hope the providers don't make the same mistakes that I made during hurricane Sandy in NJ. In most cases you must bill the homeowners insurance first before medicare will cover replacement equipment. Lesson learned the hard way. Rands Surgical Toms River NJ