Express your outrage
The news out there is bad, but it's not all bad.
While the New York Times ran a biased expose (Nov. 30) about how Medicare pays too much for oxygen, the Missoulian (Missoula, Mont.) ran a more balanced article on the home respiratory industry, and NBC News ran a two-part series (Dec. 10, 11) that spotlighted Medicare's huge fraud problem ($60 billion a year), CMS's inability to control it, and the fact that these brazen criminals give all honest Medicare providers (not just HMEs) a black eye.
The HME industry really needs to take advantage of reports like those run by NBC Nightly News and the Missoulian. Show them to lawmakers and regulators; express your outrage; demand that something be done--something that targets the crooks not the entire industry.
Can you believe it? $60 billion a year! It's enough to turn your stomach. I wonder how much that would decrease if CMS invested, for example, an additional $3 billion into program intergrity efforts and other strategies to combat fraud and abuse? I bet the pay back would be significant. So significant, I suspect, that Congress would not have to cut oxygen reimbursement for standard concentrators by 40% (as they are now contemplating) to eliminate a 5% cut to physician reimbursement in 2008.