AAH softens blow of Medicaid cuts

Friday, May 29, 2015

WASHINGTON – AAHomecare has successfully lobbied the House Energy and Commerce Committee to delay the start date for a provision reducing Medicaid payments to 2020 instead of 2016.

The committee has included the provision, which would limit the federal portion of state Medicaid fee-for-service rates for HME to the Medicare competitive bidding rates, as a “pay-for” in its 21st Century Cures Act.

“AAHomecare will continue to defend against the inclusion of these cuts to Medicaid HME rates in any future iterations of this bill,” the association stated in a bulletin.

The change in the start date reduces the value of the “pay-for” to $2.8 million instead of $2.8 billion.

As part of negotiations, the committee asked AAHomecare for a budget neutral proposal that would improve the HME benefit.

“A nationwide prior authorization process would help address audit problems, and AAHomecare is working to have prior authorization language added to the Cures Act before it reaches the House floor,” the association stated.

Earlier this month, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., introduced a bill that would require prior authorizations for high-dollar DME. H.R. 2437 would also exempt DME that has gone through this process from pre- and post-payment audits.

The full House is expected to vote on the Cures Act in June. If it makes it through the House, it’s unlikely it will make it through the Senate, according to AAHomecare.

“The Senate’s never going to pass a bill this big,” Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the committee, told the association.

Upton expects the Senate to pass something broader, according to AAHomecare.