Industry bills set to return in 2007

Sunday, December 31, 2006

WASHINGTON - Lawmakers failed to pass in 2006 two sets of bills intended to help HME providers, but industry sources expect them to reintroduce the legislation "very quickly" in 2007.
One set of bills, H.R. 3559 (Hobson-Tanner) and S. 3920, would lessen the blow of national competitive bidding, which CMS must kick off some time this year. The other set, H.R. 5513 and S. 3814, would repeal the 36-month cap on Medicare oxygen reimbursement.
"We're looking at a February timeframe to get them both re-introduced," said John Gallagher, vice president of government relations for The VGM Group.
Legislators ended the 109th Congress in mid-December. They passed a resolution that temporarily funds the government--but they passed little, if anything, else.
Industry leaders plan to work with Rep. David Hobson, R-Ohio, and Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., to reintroduce H.R. 3559 and H.R. 5513, respectively. But since the Democrats won the House and Senate in the recent elections, they also expect to work with other legislators.
"When you have a new majority, sometimes you look to refocus who you work with," said Tyler Wilson, AAHomemcare's CEO.