Senators introduce bill to address rural expansion

Thursday, November 19, 2015

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan bill to “smooth the transition” to competitive bid pricing in rural areas dropped today in the Senate.

Introduced by Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., the DME Access and Stabilization Act seeks to ensure HME providers can still serve Medicare beneficiaries, according to a press release.

“It is important that people receive quality health care, no matter where they live,” said Thune. “Not only does this legislation ensure that suppliers in rural areas can provide services they need to people in all parts of South Dakota, but it may enable people to return home faster after hospitalization.”

The text of the bill is not yet available, but AAHomecare has previously said that language for an anticipated bill in the House of Representatives would add 30% to pricing, and phase in the cuts over four years instead of the six months currently planned.

“Our bipartisan bill would smooth the transition to a new payment formula for businesses supplying and servicing these products, and make sure seniors, particularly those in rural communities, can continue to live independently and with dignity,” said Heitkamp.

Sens. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.,  Angus King, I-Maine, and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho are co-sponsoring the bill.

The national roll out of competitive bid pricing will be implemented Jan. 1, 2016.