New bill provides relief to rural areas

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

WASHINGTON – A bill that would preserve access to durable medical equipment, particularly in rural areas, was introduced yesterday in the House of Representatives.

Introduced by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R. Wash., and Dave Loebsack, D. Iowa, the Protecting Home Oxygen & Medical Equipment (HOME) Access Act of 2019, would:

make the 50/50 blended reimbursement rates in rural areas permanent after 2020;

provide additional relief for non-rural, non-bid areas at 75/25 blended rates; and

eliminate the oxygen budget neutrality requirement

“This legislation will help suppliers outside of bidding areas serve patients and communities that, in many cases, have a limited healthcare infrastructure,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare. “It also provides a common-sense fix to outdated oxygen reimbursement policies that have driven rates for stationary oxygen in rural areas even lower than bidding program rates.”

The legislation arrives just in time for AAHomecare’s Washington Legislative Conference next week, May 22-23. The association will provide information on how HME providers can boost efforts to sign-on co-sponsors.