AAH responds to recent proposed rule

 - 
Tuesday, August 21, 2018

WASHINGTON – AAHomecare argues that CMS should pay HME providers in competitive bidding areas a higher rate during an upcoming “gap period” in the program, according to comments submitted by the association this week in response to a recent proposed rule.

AAHomecare recommends that CMS establish rates in the former CBAs at the current SPA rates but provide an increase to those rates by all the CPI-U increases from 2013 through 2018.

“AAHomecare has serious concerns about the agency’s proposal to apply the current CBP SPAs, plus a single inflation index, in the former CBAs until the next round of bidding can be implemented,” the association writes. “Since CMS recognized these SPAs are deficient due to the median price methodology, we see no reason why inadequate rates should continue, particularly when there no longer remains the increased market share that was the balancing rationale for the lower bid prices.”

In its 26 pages of comments, AAHomecare also argues for applying 50-50 blended rates not only in rural and non-contiguous areas from Jan. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2020, but also in the remaining non-bid areas.

“We believe the access and DME supplier viability problems CMS has identified are not limited to the rural and non-contiguous areas and strongly recommend that CMS provide the same payment relief in the remaining non-CBAs,” the association writes.

Additionally, AAHomecare recommends that CMS: consider a more comprehensive effort to modernize the home oxygen benefit and overhaul its gap-filling methodology to establish fees for newly covered items paid on a fee schedule basis.

“I hope our comments will help spur HME companies and other stakeholders to share their input on the proposed rule with CMS, as well,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare. “The final version of the rule will have a tremendous impact on our industry for years to come, so it’s critical that we make our best case for improving CMS’s reimbursement policy now.”

CMS is accepting comments on the rule until Sept. 10. Currently, it has received 26 comments.