Providers face further cuts

Saturday, January 31, 2009

COLUMBIA, S.C.--Like many other states, South Carolina has implemented budget cuts, but home medical equipment providers are trying to take them in stride.

The 2009 budget for the state’s Department of Health and Human Services has been cut by 14.4%, according to recent news reports.

As part of those cuts, beginning Feb. 1, Medicaid will pay for one nebulizer every two years; reduce the number of nebulizer supply kits from 31 per month to 15 per month; reimburse for manual wheelchairs as rent-to-purchase only; and suspend coverage of home wheelchair ramps.

Providers should be able to absorb the changes to nebulizer coverage, said Brent Mattox, chair of South Carolina Medical Equipment Services Association’s (SCMESA) Medicaid advisory committee.

 “A nebulizer set is certainly something that can be reused more than once, so by reducing that they’re just bringing that into a more reasonable quantity,” he said. “They were replacing a nebulizer compressor every year - that’s a pretty durable piece of equipment, so they’ve extended that for two years. There’s talk about doing it for three years.”