CMS officials 'impressed' by Roberts Home Medical

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

GERMANTOWN, Md. - CMS officials in January got a firsthand look at the business of HME when Roberts Home Medical welcomed them into their facility.

"Their eyes were opened," said Lou Kaufmann, vice president, patient/client services for Roberts Home Medical. Roberts was tapped in part because of its proximity to CMS headquarters in Baltimore. "There were a lot of questions on their part, but they were impressed (by what providers do)."

The visit was the idea of Barbara Rogers, president and CEO of the National Emphysema/COPD Association. Rogers represents consumers on the Program Advisory and Oversight Committee (PAOC).

"I am really concerned that CMS doesn't fully understand all that goes into providing safe and adequate services to patients," she said. "It is more than acquiring a piece of hardware."

Roberts Home Medical made sure CMS officials saw every step of the process, from the initial phone call, to any necessary patient follow-up, to billing. They also toured the facility, examined specific pieces of HME and visited with an oxygen patient in her home.

"We didn't put on a show for them," said Kaufmann. "It was the normal day-to-day (routine)."

Ultimately, providers and CMS have the same goal, said Kaufmann.

"We both want to take quality and safe care of our patients and their beneficiaries," he said. "The next round of cuts--whether it's through NCB or nickel-and-diming us by cutting reimbursement another couple of percentages--some of the little extras patients get are not going to be there."