Bid relief becomes official

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is set to sign into law today the 21st Century Cures Act, which offers some relief to HME providers in rural areas.

The bill, passed by the House of Representatives on Nov. 30 and the Senate on Dec. 7, will retroactively delay Medicare cuts that went into effect in non-competitive bidding areas from June 30, 2016, to Dec. 31, 2016, allowing providers to recoup six months worth of payments.

The same cuts will go back into effect, however, on Jan. 1, 2017.

Still, industry stakeholders say the bill sets the stage for legislative and regulatory action in 2017 to more broadly address unsustainable reimbursement for all providers.

“This is an important step forward in the ongoing effort to fix Medicare’s bidding program for HME,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare.

It’s still unclear, at this point, how CMS will follow through on the directive to delay the cuts.

The bill will also further delay Medicare’s plan to use bidding-derived prices for accessories for complex power wheelchairs for an additional six months, until July 1, 2017.