Survey: Access issues aren’t limited to Medicare

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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

WATERLOO, Iowa – The inability to get HME and supplies in a timely manner is a widespread concern for patients and caregivers, according to an informal survey conducted by People for Quality Care.

Respondents to the survey, which was conducted via social media, say they have to wait upward of weeks for HME and supplies, regardless of their insurance. One in four respondents who do not have Medicare report still having difficulty getting equipment.

“The impact of Medicare is far-reaching as it is often the benchmark for other payers, such as children and adults with Medicaid, active military families with TRICARE, and many more,” said Ashley Plauché, the legislative partner for People for Quality Care, a division of VGM Group, and manager of member and public relations for AAHomecare. “The survey results indicate an alarming trend of reduced access across the board—something that must be dealt with at the source to ensure that all people have access to equipment, services, and support they require.”

Another finding from the survey: more than half of respondents saw increases in out-of-pocket expenses.

The survey’s findings support industry efforts to pass the Protecting Home Oxygen & Medical Equipment (HOME) Access Act of 2019, introduced in May by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R. Wash., and Dave Loebsack, D. Iowa. The bill seeks to ease access issues by making the 50/50 blended reimbursement rates in rural areas permanent after 2020; implementing 75/25 blended rates in non-rural, non-bid areas; and eliminating the oxygen budget neutrality requirement.