Medicare stalls on retesting Group I respiratory patients

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Sunday, September 28, 2003

September 29, 2003

WASHINGTON - Respiratory providers can breathe a sigh of relief that CMS’s new Oxygen Retesting Policy, released earlier this month, doesn’t mess with existing requirements for recertifying Group I oxygen patients.

In draft plan released in July 2001, Medicare proposed retesting Group I patients and recertifying them between the 61st and 90th day after initial certification. Currently, Group I patients with a lifetime CMN - 90+ % of all Medicare oxygen patients - must be recertified but not retested by the 12th month following the initial prescription.

In lobbying against the proposed recertification change, the industry noted, among other things, the shortage of independent testing facilities, which would make retesting Group I patients extremely difficult.

Said Asela Cuervo, AAHomecare’s senior vice president of government relations. “The industry worked hard on that issue and the outcome reflects that. But it’s like everything else in this industry: that issue won’t go away forever.”

Indeed, in a September bulletin, Region A DMERC stated it was still considering how to implement the proposed recertification. The DMERC added that it “will be included in a future revision of the policy.”

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