NHIA won't give up

The association says questions about patient safety have not been addressed by CMS officials
Friday, December 28, 2012

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The latest attempt by stakeholders to get CMS to rethink its decision to include home infusion in the Round 1 recompete didn’t get very far.

The National Home Infusion Association (NHIA) recently met with the Competitive Bidding Implementation Contractor and the National Suppliers Clearinghouse to discuss the issue. It also submitted written questions to both groups.

 “We are disappointed at the lack of response from CMS to very particular safety concerns that we have raised and others have raised,” said Russ Bodoff, president and CEO. “Patient safety is something I think we should all be concerned about.”

Time is running out. The bid window on the Round 1 recompete closed on Dec. 14. 

That’s especially concerning because the category was open to anyone, even though it is a complicated and service-intensive therapy, often used to treat very ill patients.

“We know there are a number of general HME providers that can’t compound the medications that planned to bid in this category,” said Bill Noyes, vice president of health information policy for NHIA. “I think the expectation is that one entity will provide the pump and supplies, and the infusion pharmacy will provide the medication. We don’t believe that will be the case.”

Competitive bidding isn’t the only thing on the association’s docket. At press time, it was unlikely that a bill to create a more comprehensive Medicare benefit for home infusion therapy would pass before the 112th Congress ended. The association plans to reintroduce the legislation in 2013, possibly with some changes.

“We have contracted with a major health policy firm to help us take a fresh look at the entire issue,” said Bodoff. “They will help us work through our approach and the way that we can best present what the new form of legislation should be.”