Sometimes freezing is the better option


It’s been a chilly week here at HME News World HQ, with temps in the low single digits dipping into the negative double digits. 

Last winter was my first back in southern Maine after living along the Canadian border, and it was warm and wonderful, with only about two snowstorms. 

Still, I’m very used to very cold winters. When I was living in Madawaska, I wasn’t thrilled when it was -40, but I really didn’t mind. To me, 25-degree days with three feet of snowfall were much, much worse. 

On severely cold days, we’d plug our cars in overnight, unplug and start the car 20 minutes before work, and go about our business like normal. “Hey,” I’d say. “At least it’s too cold to snow!”

In talking with mobility providers in the seven demonstration states, they seem to feel about the same way about the demo. Yes, going through the prior authorization process adds a few extra steps—and they’re not thrilled there’s no set template—but hey, at least they’re not giving out equipment they’re not sure they’ll be paid for. 

In fact, despite some complaints about CMS contactors denying prior auths when they shouldn’t, providers seem pretty happy to take that extra step for that extra security. 

I’ll continue to be in touch the demo goes on; let me know if that feeling changes, or if things continue to get better. I’m interested to see how this all shakes out over the next few years. Will CMS expand it to the rest of the 50 states? Will they do this for any other products?

I know Liz wrote about DME MACs doing prepay reviews on products other than power wheelchairs—is that gearing up to maybe implement something like this in other sectors? 

If so, I get the impression that may not be such a bad thing.