Kentucky: Licensure benefits all, say HME stakeholders

Thursday, May 24, 2012

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Providers here hope a new licensure requirement will help them preserve business with insurance companies.

The new licensure gives official status to HME providers, a classification that stakeholders sought after Humana announced last year that it had established a preferred provider contract with Apria and planned to terminate several provider relationships. Such a contract violates the state’s any-willing provider law, say stakeholders.

“We hope this will nip that Humana thing in the bud,” said Tammy Johnson, owner of AbleCare in Lexington, Ky. 

Under the new law, which passed April 11, existing HME providers need to be licensed by Sept. 30.

Licensure ensures that providers must meet certain standards, said Teresa Camfield, executive director of the Kentucky Medical Equipment Suppliers Association. That’s good for everyone, she says.

Provider Dave Chesnut agrees.

“Unfortunately, there’s bad apples in every type of business out there,” said Chesnut, owner of Pennyrile Home Medical, which has four locations in western Kentucky. “It gives the state a little more teeth to address that issue.”

Details were still being finalized at press time, but the law would require HME providers to obtain a license from the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy at an annual cost of $200. Providers that already meet certain state licensure requirements, like pharmacies and skilled nursing agencies, would be exempt from new licensure requirement. Border states with similar licensure laws would be able to work out reciprocity agreements and sell HME in Kentucky, said Camfield.

“We’re very excited about it as a provider community,” said Camfield. “We’re happy to have it.”