It's only Wednesday, but it's already been a busy week for the HME industry.
*The DME MACs on Monday published a FAQ on CMS's ATS requirement. The roll out of this requirement on April 1, 2008, was supposed to be uneventful, but thanks to shifting market dynamics and a last-minute decision by the powers-at-be to change the rules of the game (by allowing contract ATSs), providers have had more problems with the requirement than they expected. See story in our June issue.
*Also on Monday, providers in Ohio testified before Medicaid officials about a proposed reimbursement reduction for oxygen concentrators. On March 24, three days after CMS released competitive bidding reimbursement, Ohio Medicaid proposed paying providers about $105 per month for oxygen concentrators, about 80% of $130, the reimbursement set for Cincinnati, one of the Round 1 areas. Providers are lobbying legislators not to give the rule their necessary stamp of approval.
*On Tuesday, oxygen concentrator reimbursement
and competitive bidding were the focus of articles in two well-respected newspapers, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.
*Also on Tuesday, Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., chair of the Ways and Means Committee's health subcommittee, held a hearing on competitive bidding. The members of the subcommittee gave Kerry Weems, CMS's acting administrator, a good grilling, but this is what's generating the most buzz: When Stark asked AAHomecare's Tom Ryan whether the industry would accept reimbursement cuts totaling $6 billion over five years to get rid of the program, Ryan said, Yes.
Coming up: At the hearing, Weems said CMS expects to announce next week the winning bidders who accepted contracts for Round 1.