Ohio wants a $75 concentrator, capped at purchase price

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio HME suppliers met with officials from the state's Medicaid program in July, hoping to derail plans to reduce reimbursement for oxygen concentrators to $75 per month and cap rental fees at the purchase price of the unit.
The proposed policy changes go beyond concentrators to include the entire DME fee schedule, which would be capped at the fair market purchase price of the product.
"The state has lost its mind," said Ric Wren, a former president of the Ohio Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers. "They haven't thought through this at all -- about who maintains the equipment and who goes out to the house and so on."
The policy changes are scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1. In the meantime, suppliers are scrambling to undo the severity of the proposals at the state's Medicaid administrator, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS).
Historically, OAMES has engaged in dialogue with the ODJFS in advance of policy changes.
"That dialogue did not exist this time," said Kam Yuricich, OAMES executive director. "We made recommendations to a draft of the policy but rather than accepting our suggestions, [the proposals] got worse and more burdensome."
Yuricich believes ODJFS is under enormous pressure to reduce expenditures, and Wren believes the administrators are picking on HME suppliers because they can.
In 2004, Ohio spent $145 million on home medical equipment, including $10 million for oxygen in long term care facilities, $12 million for oxygen in the home and $34 million for wheelchairs.