OIG report overlooks recent HME reductions

Monday, March 15, 2010

WASHINGTON - The Office of Inspector General (OIG) released its "2010 Compendium of Unimplemented OIG Recommendations" on March 11 and the HME industry did not escape its notice.

The report contains numerous recommendations for HME, including capping oxygen rentals at 13 months. The report, however, uses 2006 oxygen reimbursement rates to support that recommendation. As anyone in the HME industry knows, oxygen reimbursement rates have dropped dramatically since 2006.

Other recommendations in the report include cutting payments for standard and complex power wheelchairs and negative pressure wound therapy.

The report lists seven "priority recommendations" for Medicare Parts A and B. The recommendations that focus solely on HME are:

*    Ensure medical equipment providers' compliance with Medicare enrollment standards. Estimated savings to be determined (TBD).

*    Reduce the rental period for Medicare home oxygen equipment. Estimated savings - $3.2 billion.

*    Eliminate Medicare's vulnerability to fraudulent or excessive inhalation drug claims in South Florida. Estimated savings TBD.

The annual compendium contains monetary and non-monetary recommendations for the Department of Health and Human Services, and contains legislative, regulatory and administrative actions that the OIG believe could save money and improve efficiency.

Read the complete 2010 compendium at http://oig.hhs.gov/publications/compendium.asp.