Ohio TV reporter investigates oxygen reimbursement

Sunday, November 21, 2004

November 22, 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio - HME suppliers here were on defense last week, preparing for a possible Fleecing of America-type story on oxygen reimbursement that they expect will air this week on a local news station, according to the Ohio Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers.
Several Ohio-based suppliers met with a local reporter for Channel 10 TV news last week to explain the importance of the services they provide to Medicare beneficiaries.
Those involved say the reporter is questioning why oxygen reimbursement is paid monthly instead of as a capped rental item.
The reporter, Tim Hart, interviewed Tim Pontius and Jim Frederick of Toledo, Ohio-based Young Medical Equipment. He also visited the home of an a couple that runs numerous concentrators for their adopted children with service technicians from Columbus Prescription's, according to Kam Yuricich, OAMES’s executive director.
“The point of the visit was to illustrate that the equipment was just one portion of the expense provided by an HME provider and is a life-sustaining piece of equipment that needs service and follow-up,” said Yuricich in an e-mail. “Mr. Hart saw first-hand how important Columbus Prescription's support is to the safety, health and peace-of-mind of those using HME services.”
The story first began to take shape in late October when Hart contacted the office of Rep. David Hobson, R-Ohio, and OAMES. Hart said a viewer brought the oxygen reimbursement issue to his attention. The viewer felt that “continuous rental of an oxygen concentrator was wasteful spending by Medicare,” according to Yuricich.