AAH O2 study: Services account for more than 70% of costs

Sunday, June 25, 2006

WASHINGTON - With a new study in hand, AAHomecare plans to "shatter myths" that paint home oxygen providers as little more than glorified delivery people.

The study, which AAHomecare plans to release tomorrow, shows that services like patient assessments, intake, maintenance and regulatory compliance make up more than 70% of the costs of providing home oxygen therapy. Equipment accounts for only 28% of the costs.

The industry has argued that the 36-month cap on oxygen Medicare reimbursement, which was passed as part of the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) earlier this year, treats providers like drop-shippers and oxygen therapy like a commodity.

AAHomecare will announce additional findings from the study at a briefing on Capitol Hill. Chairman Tom Ryan will be joined by Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., one of the sponsors of H.R. 5513, which would repeal the oxygen cap; the study's co-authors from Morrison Informatics; and Vlady Rozenbaum, a COPD patient and founder of the support group COPD Alert.

To conduct the study, the Mechanicsburg, Pa.-based Morrison gathered data from 75 oxygen providers that, together, deliver service and equipment to more than 600,000 beneficiaries.

AAHomecare commissioned the study shortly after Congress passed the DRA. The goal: "There's an ongoing need to have clear, credible data that demonstrates everything that goes into oxygen therapy and to educate CMS and Congress on that," Michael Reinemer, AAHomecare's vice president for communications an policy, said at the time.