'We've conformed to bad policy'

Friday, February 29, 2008

WASHINGTON - Laura Cohen, co-coordinator of The Clinician Task Force, spoke with HME News recently about the industry's ongoing efforts to stop Medicare's use of the in-the-home restriction.
HME News: There are still bills in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate (H.R. 1809 and S. 2103) that would eliminate the restriction, right?
Laura Cohen: Yes, we're still trying to eliminate the restriction with legislative action, but we're also looking to collect stories of people who can't obtain equipment that they need due to the restriction.
hme: What kinds of stories are you looking for?
Cohen: We're looking for stories of Medicare beneficiaries who, say, need canes around the house but need something different in other environments. I would think that MS patients would sign up in droves.
hme: What impact do you expect these stories to have on legislators and CMS?
Cohen: What's happening is that beneficiaries are turned away, and it's never documented. So when legislators ask, "What are the problems with the in-the-home restriction?" we don't have anything.
hme: Has the in-the-home restriction pushed the industry away from best practices?
Cohen: We've conformed our practice to bad policy. We're no longer doing what we've been trained to do and what has been the foundation of our profession: helping people with disabilities maintain their freedom and independence.