Oxygen report begins journey

Sunday, April 4, 2004

April 5, 2004

WASHINGTON - A draft of an OIG report on reimbursement for home oxygen is due to begin making its way from a regional office in California this month, to OIG headquarters here, and then on to CMS which will issue a final report sometime this fall.
The analysis was called for by the OIG’s 2003 Work Plan. The Medicare Prescription Drug Act (MMA) directed CMS to use the report’s findings as a benchmark for making cuts to home oxygen reimbursement.
Although reimbursement for home oxygen was cut by 30% in BBA ’97, the OIG’s 2003 Work Plan called for another look at the product category to see if payments for home oxygen were reasonably priced. Medicare paid more than $1.6 billion for home oxygen in 2001.
“This is an area that’s been a problem area,” said an OIG spokesperson. “It’s probably time to look at it again.”
The OIG said it could not get into specifics about the methodology its California office used to compile the draft report. The spokesperson said the report is the result of a survey, analysis and phone interviews.
The MMA spelled out specific percentage cuts to seven other top DME items but referred to the pending OIG report for the oxygen reduction. AAHomecare is combating the FEHBP cuts by underlining crucial differences between Medicare and other payors.