Tuesday, November 24, 2009

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Bob Achermann, executive director of the California Association of Medical Product Suppliers (CAMPS), is used to being the bearer of bad news. He hopes that will change before the end of this year.

In November, Achermann expected a federal judge to prepare a “final order” that exempts physicians, dentists and adult day health centers from a 10% reimbursement cut to Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program. The cut was implemented July 1, 2008, and it was reduced to 1% March 1, 2009.

That’s all well and good, but what about DME providers?

“We’re very optimistic the rollback of the 10% cut will also be applied to DME and supplies,” Achermann said.

Last year, CAMPS filed an injunction to exempt DME providers from the cut, but a federal judge denied it without prejudice, leaving the door open for the association to re-file. At that time, the judge stated he didn’t want to make a more definitive ruling until another court ruled on the exemption for physicians.

With a federal judge expected to prepare “a final order,” CAMPS has re-filed its injunction to exempt DME providers. The association believes DME providers will be included in that order.

“The principles are the same,” Achermann said.

That’s music to the ears of provider Mark Ehlers, who has had to cut back on product selection and services, as well as lay off some employees, due, in part, to the cut.

“It would be a big deal, especially on the bigger-ticket items like oxygen and electric wheelchairs,” said Ehlers, owner of Ehlers Health Supply in Stockton, Calif.

If all goes well, providers would receive retroactive relief, Achermann said.