With everything going on in Washington, D.C., these days, even for our little HME industry, is it any coincidence that AAHomecare has launched a Legislative Council?
I know Managing Editor Theresa, who owns the legislative affairs beat here at HME News, is having a hard time keeping up.
The big news last week was not only the passage of H.R. 284, a bill in the House of Representatives to reform the competitive bidding program, but also the introduction of H.R. 1516, a bill in that same House to create a separate benefit for complex rehab.
Then this week comes word, via any news outlet with a pulse, that there’s actually a good chance that the House and Senate will pass, and the president will sign, a so-called SGR bill with a permanent so-called “doc fix,” a move that will save physicians from an impending 21% cut in reimbursement.
The House actually passed H.R. 2 today, with a vote of 392-37. Now the bill is on to the Senate for a vote, possibly as early as tomorrow morning.
We won’t be sad, by the way, to never again have to write about the SGR bill. It brings up too many sensitive subjects—mainly the fact that a pay cut to physicians is such a big deal. Cuts to other healthcare professionals (ahem, HME providers)? Not so much.
But I digress.
Then Theresa and I learned from the hard working folks at The VGM Group that language from H.R. 284, the bid reform bill, is actually in H.R. 2, the SGR bill.
Why is that necessary, you ask, when the House has already passed H.R. 284? Theresa says industry sources say it’s because the language has a better chance of getting through the Senate as part of the SGR bill than as part of a standalone bill.
Also this week, Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Mark Warner, D-Va., introduced a bill what would apply accreditation and other standards for providers of orthotics and prosthetics to Medicare beneficiaries.
Oh, and while Theresa was reporting on that story, she found out that Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., has introduced a bill to reform Medicare’s audit program. She tells me the bill would prevent CMS from collecting more than 50% of any recoupment amount before a hearing by the administrative law judge has been conducted.
Theresa will have a story or two (or five) about all of this stuff in Monday’s HME Newswire.
Speaking of competitive bidding, there was also that little bit of news about the deadline closing this week for submitting bids for the Round 2 re-compete (well, after a one day extension).
Provider Woody O’Neal posted this picture to twitter after submitting his bids.
I think we could all use a tall one after this week, especially Theresa, only she drinks wine, not beer.