Rent your test strips here


If you are like me, you come back from vacation feeling, in some ways, out of the loop. You know, like when you learn America has invaded some small third world country or some such nonsense while you've  debating whether you'd rather kayak or sleep in.

But sometimes time away makes you also realize that some things never change. Take CMS, which apparently issued, on August 8, an article reminding providers that supplier standards require that they give Medicare beneficiaries the option, in writing, of renting all products included in the inexpensive or routinely purchased supply items, like glucose test strips. Yes, test strips.

I can just see the letter:

Dear Bennie: Did you know that Medicare allows you to rent test strips? Even though they are always purchased, you can rent them, because we are nothing if not well-versed at government speak. If you choose to rent test strips, even though they are always purchased, we don't have a rental fee established for the test strips, nor a code modifier for billing rental test strips vs purchased test strips (OK, I am making an assumption here).

Test strips are available for rent for a 30- or 90-day period, as long as your doctor has seen you within a certain time period, documents that you have diabetes, what type of diabetes you have, how many times a day you test and whether the moon was full at the time of your appointment.

Since the term rent implies temporary use of another's property, when you, dear Bennie, are through renting your always purchased test strips, please feel free to return them, blood smears and all, to your test strip supplier.

Love, CMS

Although CMS quickly rescinded said article, it probably wasn't quick enough to avoid what I am sure must have been a few loud guffaws throughout the industry. This is what happens when bureaucrats, actually any employee, is not allowed to, well, think. They stick to the letter of the law, even when it makes no sense, because, and I have heard this said on Open Door Forums, back in the days when they actually used to discuss HME, that the "law is the law."

As to the idea of renting (the always purchased) test strips, I say let's do away with test strips all together. Give me a durable little plastic or glass strip that I can use over and over again, like my meter itself. No fuss, no muss, no expense.

Now there's a way to save healthcare dollars.

Theresa Flaherty
Type 1