SBA sides with providers

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

WASHINGTON--The Small Business Administration (SBA) in December agreed with providers that CMS has failed to properly consider the impact of the 36-month oxygen cap on small businesses.

The SBA’s Office of Advocacy sent a letter to CMS on Dec. 17, stating that, while the agency provided some analysis of the cap’s impact on small businesses, it “does not rise to the level” required by law.

“The SBA believes that we need to be paid fairly for the services we provide,” said provider Rob Brant, president of the Accredited Medical Equipment Providers Association (AMEPA).

In December, AMEPA encouraged providers to file complaints with the SBA, charging CMS with failing to consider the cap’s impact on small businesses, something it must do per the Regulatory Flexibility Act.

Providers like Brant supplied the SBA with invoices to support claims that they can’t afford to operate under the cap’s provisions, particularly a provision that requires them to continue service to capped patients who relocate. He estimates that each patient who relocates will cost him up to $4,800 for the two years between the time the cap kicks in and the useful lifetime of equipment ends.

“That is the biggest issue,” said Brant. “We also explained the problems of having to provide all the supplies and going out on service calls whenever the patient calls.”

The SBA agreed that the provision requiring providers to continue service to capped patients who relocate is “onerous.”