OIG rehashes HME recommendations

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

WASHINGTON – The Office of Inspector General (OIG) won’t let go of the idea of reducing the rental period for home oxygen.

In a “2012 Compendium of Unimplemented Recommendations,” the OIG rehashes a recommendation that Medicare reduce the rental period for home oxygen from 36 months to 13 months. Based on a previous report in 2006, it estimates that such a move would save $3.2 billion over five years. The OIG disagrees with CMS’s stance that reducing the rental period for home oxygen may not be necessary due to competitive bidding.

Other OIG recommendations:

• CMS should adjust reimbursement for standard and complex power wheelchairs. An OIG report in 2009 that compared acquisition costs to payments in 2007 found that Medicare and beneficiaries paid nearly four times the average of what providers paid to acquire standard power wheelchairs and two times the average for complex rehab wheelchairs. The OIG believes savings are probable, but it does not provide an estimate.

• CMS should continue to monitor growth in the negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT) market. It should also follow up on potentially inappropriate claims. An OIG report in 2009 found that Medicare’s purchase price for original pump models were more than four times the average price paid by suppliers for new models. Although CMS included pumps in Round 2 of competitive bidding and is implementing adjustments to payments, the OIG believes additional monitoring is needed to ensure that Medicare reimbursements are appropriately aligned going forward. The OIG believes savings are probable, but it does provide an estimate.

To read the full report: https://oig.hhs.gov/reports-and-publications/compendium/files/compendium2012.pdf