Rep. Tipton throws support behind rural providers

Thursday, November 5, 2015

WASHINGTON – Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., is collecting signatures for a “Dear Colleague” letter that asks for legislative relief from impending Medicare cuts for HME providers in rural areas, VGM announced yesterday.

On Jan. 1, CMS plans to apply bid pricing in non-bid areas. Though pricing will be slightly higher in rural areas, the agency intends to use regional prices limited by a national ceiling (110% of the average of regional prices) and floor (90% of the average of regional prices).

“There are already larger barriers to access for home health services in rural parts of the country, and decreasing compensation for the services required to deliver equipment to this area reduces the likelihood that providers will continue to operate there,” wrote Tipton.

Tipton noted that the 10% adjustment to reimbursement in rural areas will not cover the cost of services provided and questions whether CMS’s phase-in timeline is realistic. He also highlighted concerns about the potential impact the cuts will have on beneficiary access.

VGM encourages stakeholders to contact their representatives and ask them to sign on to the letter by Nov. 16 before it makes its way to leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee.