Missouri may reverse DME cuts

Sunday, April 30, 2006

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Missouri providers have their fingers crossed that deep Medicaid DME cuts implemented last summer could be reversed.
H.B. 1011--Missouri's social services budget--passed the House on March 20 and is now in Senate committee. Included in the bill: language that would untie the hands of the Department of Medical Services (DMS) with regard to DME.
"What we requested is DMS be given the authority to pay for equipment where it's necessary and not pay for it where it's not," said Brady Vestal, the Missouri chair for the Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services (MAMES). "We would go back to the program we had until August last year."
Cuts to the state's Medicaid program were implemented last August in an effort to lower DME spending from about $58 million to $33 million. Missouri continues to pay for oxygen, wheelchairs, prosthetics, ostomy and diabetic supplies, but not for items like batteries, walkers and nebulizer compressors. Items not covered must go through a lengthy exception process that has not saved the state any money, said Vestal.
Vestal said he expects approval of the bill in late May.