In brief: CMS's about-face, AHP's debt

Saturday, December 19, 2009

ARLINGTON, Va. - Industry stakeholders have reached out to CMS to find out why the agency seems to have changed its tune about when it will allow newly accredited providers to start billing again. Going into the Oct. 1 accreditation deadline, providers worked under the assumption that, if they couldn't meet the deadline, they were to voluntarily revoke their Medicare number, become accredited and then re-enroll with the National Supplier Clearinghouse (NSC). Once they were re-enrolled, they believed they could bill retroactively to the date they became accredited. But CMS is denying claims for dates of service prior to the date their applications were processed. "Some argue that this is a reversal of CMS policy and what we're trying to do is cut through the red tape and see how we can address these issues," said Walt Gorski, AAHomecare's vice president of government affairs. "When you're working paycheck to paycheck, losing a month's worth of billing can be catastrophic."

AHP stalls debt repayment

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. - American HomePatient announced last week that it has entered into another forbearance agreement with its creditors, the sixth such agreement since Aug. 1, 2009, the date its $226 million in debt was originally due. NexBank and other creditors have agreed "not to exercise their rights or remedies for the company's failure to repay the debt" before Jan. 16, 2010.

Iowa governor eyes competitive bidding

DES MOINES, Iowa - The governor of Iowa has proposed that the state's Medicaid program competitively bid home medical equipment and supplies, the Midwest Association of Medical Equipment Services (MAMES) notified members last week. In his "Iowa Efficiency Review Report," Gov. Chet Culver states that he believes the program could save about $500,000 in the first year and $4.1 million over five years. Culver also proposes changing the way Medicaid pays for rentals from 150% to 100% of purchase price. He believes this could save $200,000 in the first year and $1.3 million over five years. To read the report, go to The section on HME starts on page 52.