Industry advocates protest

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

CONCORD, N.H. - Advocates for the disabled here have admitted they may have jumped the gun when the state clarified its list of non-covered DME earlier this year, leading to protests and confusion.
While the state did not exclude any new items from coverage, clarifying the previously unpublished list made it appear as though the number of items not covered by Medicare had jumped from about a dozen to several times that number.
Providers had been calling for a revamping of the rules, which many felt were outdated, said Tamme Dustin, director and CFO for Hooksett-based HME Herron & Smith.
"We as providers knew what wasn't covered and we've known for years," said Dustin. "These groups were not made aware of that, which is what we tried to say to the state all along."
Confusion arose when a more comprehensive list of exclusions became available making it seem as though the state had increased the number of excluded items.
News articles also wrongly reported that wheelchairs were not covered, bringing advocacy groups out of the woodwork, said Dustin.
"There was a lot of conflict in those news articles," said Dustin. "They have always covered wheelchairs. But that was really the state's fault because they never really had a good non-covered list that was published."