N.J. coalition targets NCB

Saturday, July 31, 2004

YARMOUTH, Maine - A coalition of 22 New Jersey providers has tabled its efforts to stop hospitals from referring most patients who need medical equipment to in-house shops. Instead, the Coalition of Independent Medical Equipment Dealers will direct its energy toward fighting efforts to implement national competitive bidding, said Herb Passerman, a CIMED member.

“Downstreaming” is another fight, and not as pressing as competitive bidding, Passerman said.

BBA ’97 requires hospitals to furnish patients, upon discharge, with a list of home health agencies that could service their needs. For nearly a year, CIMED contended that legislators intended BBA’s freedom of choice language to apply not just home nursing but to all home health companies, including home medical equipment. The group’s attorney, however, could not document that belief, Passerman said.

“The headlines on that section of [BBA ’97] seem to apply to more than just home health agencies, that they might apply to DME companies,” said Ann Howard, AAHomecare’s director of federal policy. “But when you read the specifics, I think it is pretty clear that it applies only to home health agencies.”