The Senate joins the House with an in-the-home query to CMS

Sunday, July 3, 2005

WASHINGTON -- Thirty senators have signed on to a Dear Colleague letter that asks CMS modify its in-the-home restriction. The Senators letter mirrors a letter that 61 members of the House sent to CMS last week.

Eight of the thirty senators were Republican, including Pennsylvania's Rick Santorum who, along with Jeff Bingham, D-N.H, is one of the two principal signatories of the letter.

The renewed push to pull the restriction was prompted by the absence of any modification in the recent National Coverage Determination for power wheelchairs and scooters.

CMS has stated that it believes only Congress has the power to modify in-the-home, though the initiative's backers say CMS has never said so publicly.

If CMS does tell Congress its hands are legislatively tied, then groups like the ITEM (Independence Through Enhancement of Medicare and Medicaid) Coalition and AAHomecare plan to pursue a legislative remedy.