Skip to Content

CQRC calls for clear post-PHE transition

CQRC calls for clear post-PHE transition

Dan StarckWASHINGTON – With a “massive” number of patients starting on home respiratory therapy during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Council for Quality Respiratory Care is renewing its call for a transition period to ensure those patients don’t lose access when the public health emergency ends on May 11, says the Council for Quality Respiratory Care. 

While providers are ready to move past the pandemic, much of that readiness depends on any guidance CMS provides, especially for Medicare oxygen patients, says Dan Starck, immediate past chair of the CQRC, and executive vice president of Patient Direct for Owens & Minor and CEO of Apria. 

“It’s really hard to understand, on May 12, what happens,” he said. “What are the recertification qualifications necessary, if any? If we think about the three-year period, almost every Medicare oxygen patient on service today probably doesn’t have everything in their file that would meet pre-pandemic requirements.” 

In particular, the CQRC would like to know whether CMS will grandfather those patients. It’s logistically impossible that the estimated 1 million patients who started therapy during the PHE would be able to get re-tested and re-evaluated, Starck says. 

The CQRC and other industry stakeholders have been doing outreach for months, speaking to CMS Principal Deputy Administrator and COO Jonathan Blum and other officials to gain an understanding of what the agency is thinking and to share their recommendations, says Starck. 

“It’s become much more about making sure the patient gets the equipment they need than it is about paperwork,” he said. “I think the hope is that that we’re not going to swing the pendulum all the way back. Nobody has a problem around a clear set of criteria (to follow), but I think it’s really about how much has to go into that process that burdens the prescriber, burdens the supplier and often delays receipt of equipment.”


To comment on this post, please log in to your account or set up an account now.