Bid relief: Stakeholders press for rule to be released, bills to move

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Friday, October 2, 2020

WASHINGTON – Industry stakeholders believe there’s a rule related to DMEPOS payment policy stuck at the Office of Management and Budget that could spell out CMS’s plans for reimbursement for rural areas. 

Right now, there is a 50/50 blended rate for rural areas in effect through the end of the year and a new 75/25 blended rate for non-rural, non-bid areas in effect for the duration of the public health emergency. 

“From our standpoint, we are putting pressure legislatively on the OMB to move the rule,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare. “There are indications that it is there.” 

It’s déjà vu for a rule to be stuck at the OMB. A couple of years ago, it was an interim final rule related to extending a phase-in period for a second round of rate cuts for DME and enteral nutrition in non-bid areas, and amending regulation to resume the transition period for items furnished from 2017-18. 

Stakeholders don’t know the specifics of the rule, which they say has been stuck at the OMB since April, so they’re “proceeding on all angles,” says Jay Witter, senior vice president of public policy for AAHomecare. 

“We’re continuing to advocate for relief and we’re continuing to talk to Congress to be prepared,” he said. “It may not come out; it may come out and be negative. We’ll ask Congress to intervene.” 

Congress could intervene by moving on H.R. 2771, which would make permanent the 50/50 and 75/25 rates, and which now has 82 co-sponsors. 

“We had some good activity on that in September,” Ryan said. 

Stakeholders are also working to move H.R. 8158, a bill that would eliminate the budget neutrality requirement for home oxygen therapy, as part of a larger or standalone bill. 

“Once the House passes the bill, the Senate could consider it under consent,” Witter said. “We’re working with the committees of jurisdiction to drive that.”