House Dems unveil healthcare reform bill

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

WASHINGTON – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., today released an $894 billion healthcare reform bill, and it appears the provisions that would affect the HME industry are similar to those in a bill introduced earlier in July.

The HME-related provisions in H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, include:

•    Oxygen: Providers serving beneficiaries at month 27 would be required to continue doing so for the remainder of the reasonable useful lifetime of the equipment (60 months), regardless of the patient's location. In the case of an oxygen provider who files for bankruptcy, and more than 24 months of rental payments on the equipment have been made, the beneficiary may begin a new 36-month rental period with another provider.

•    Pharmacy: Pharmacies enrolled as DME suppliers who supply only diabetes testing supplies, canes and crutches would be exempt from the mandatory accreditation requirements; and suppliers who submitted accreditation applications by Aug. 1, 2009, would retain their billing numbers until they become accredited.

According to news reports, debate on the plan could start next week.