Stakeholders seek five-year bid delay for non-invasive vents

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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

ATLANTA – A bill could be introduced literally any day now to pump the brakes on CMS’s plans to include non-invasive ventilation in its competitive bidding program, AAHomecare’s Jay Witter told Medtrade attendees on Tuesday morning.

The bill would delay the inclusion of non-invasive vents in the program for five years—or two rounds of bidding—and would require the creation of an expert panel to create a “good medical policy” for the product category, said Witter, senior vice president of public policy.

“This is something that we’re working with a broad coalition to stop,” he said, a coalition that includes the ALS Association and the American Association for Respiratory Care.

CMS announced in March that non-invasive vents were one of 16 product categories that it would include in Round 2021. Bidding for this latest round of the program closed on Sept. 18.

Witter commended the industry’s efforts earlier this year to help collect 180 signatures for a letter in the House of Representatives and 38 in the Senate to pressure CMS to drop non-invasive vents from the bid program.

“Forty percent of Congress said, ‘Don’t do this,’” he said. “Unfortunately, CMS has not responded to that; they’re moving forward with their plans.”

AAHomecare is eyeing end-of-year legislation as a possible vehicle for the bill for non-invasive vents, as well a bill to make permanent a 50-50 blended reimbursement rates in rural areas and implement a 75-25 rate for non-rural, non-bid areas; and bills to protect accessories for manual complex rehab wheelchairs.

“We don’t have to choose,” Witter said. “We just have to make our case and make sure there’s enough support.”