Remove roadblocks to patient care, say providers

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Friday, March 20, 2020

YARMOUTH, Maine – CMS should temporarily relax regulations and provide clear and transparent guidance to help HME providers take care of patients during the coronavirus outbreak, they say.

Providers would like CMS to provide guidance on what will and will not be covered for patients with a COVID-19 diagnosis, and make concessions like allowing for short-term coverage of home oxygen.

“If a patient is hypoxic and had a diagnosis of pneumonia, flu or COVID-19, CMS should pay DME for three months of oxygen and then have the patient retested,” wrote one respondent. “We are trying to treat patients in their home.”

Other recommendations include relaxing the continued use of documentation requirements for power mobility device repairs and changing proof of delivery requirements.

In particular, with everyone trying to minimize the spread of disease, providers say the agency should suspend the face-to-face requirement.

“Remove the face-to-face requirement for CPAP/BiPAP, a three month follow-up (phone call/telehealth should be appropriate),” said one respondent.

With millions of Americans staying home to avoid contracting the virus, providers are feeling squeezed, and CMS could take steps to allow providers to focus on patient care.

“Suspend audits so our time can be devoted exclusively to attending to our patients with the reduced staff we are experiencing,” said one respondent.

CMS needs to step in to ensure all health care providers can get what they need, like personal protective equipment—not just acute care providers.

“I have emails from manufacturers stating ‘…some manufacturers have stopped letting us ship to HME providers,’” wrote one respondent. “It’s ridiculous considering they will need us and our equipment to get patients out of the hospital to make room for the next person.”