Healthcare reform: New details on House bill emerge

Monday, July 13, 2009

WASHINGTON – Three committees in the House of Representatives released an updated draft healthcare reform bill today, and it includes provisions for oxygen and power wheelchairs, according to The VGM Group.

The draft bill, released by the Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce and Education and Labor committees, also includes provisions that would amend the surety bond and accreditation requirements.

According to a review of the bill by VGM:

•    Oxygen: It includes no additional reimbursement cuts. It does, however, include a provision that would require providers furnishing equipment at month 27 to continue furnishing equipment, regardless of the patient’s location, during any subsequent period of medical need for the remainder of the reasonable useful lifetime of the equipment (60 months). Providers may furnish the equipment either directly or by making arrangements with other providers. Also, in the case of a provider who has declared bankruptcy and has liquidated its assets, a new 36-month rental period with a new oxygen provider may begin if more than 24 months of rental payments have been made on the patient’s current rental period.

•    Power wheelchairs: It includes a provision that would eliminate the first-month purchase option for Group 1 and Group 2 power wheelchairs. It exempts Group 3 complex power wheelchairs.

•    Surety bond: It includes a provision that would exempt a pharmacy that has been enrolled as a DME provider, has had a provider number for at least five years, and has never had an adverse action imposed on it, from obtaining a surety bond.

•    Accreditation: It includes a provision that would exempt a pharmacy enrolled as a DME provider, providing only diabetic testing supplies, canes and crutches from having to become accredited. Also, any supplier that has submitted an application for accreditation before Aug. 1, 2009, shall be deemed as meeting applicable standards and accreditation until the accreditor takes action on the provider's application.

To view the entire draft bill, click here: