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Stakeholders put rule, cut in focus 

Stakeholders put rule, cut in focus 

WASHINGTON – The recently passed $1.9 trillion stimulus package could mean good news and bad news for HME providers, stakeholders say. 

The good news: Industry stakeholders are hopeful that now that the package is passed they can make some headway on an assortment of issues, including a yet-to-be-released DMEPOS final rule. 

The bad news: Because of a federal requirement that any spending increases be offset by spending cuts the following year, the package also means Medicare providers could face a 4% cut in 2022. 

“That would be devastating,” said Tom Ryan, AAHomecare president and CEO. “We’re looking to see if they can waive the requirement.” 

Stakeholders believe a new bill will be introduced soon to not only extend the moratorium on the 2% Medicare sequester cuts through the end of 2021 but also waive further Medicare cuts starting in fiscal year 2022, including the 4% cut. 

AAHomecare is readying providers to push for the new bill, while it also redoubles efforts to get CMS to release the DMEPOS final rule. The association recently partnered with the Council for Quality Respiratory Care and VGM on a letter pressuring the agency to act, with a proposal to make permanent a 50-50 blended reimbursement rate in rural areas hanging in the balance. 

“We want to see what the agency is going to do when it comes to keeping that 50-50 rate permanent,” said Ryan. 

Still slowing stakeholders down: There is still no permanent CMS administrator, although stakeholders are optimistic that President Biden’s nominee Chiquita Brooks-LaSure will move into the confirmation process quickly. 

“We’re hoping to go on the record (with her) talking about the need to move that rule forward and keep the 50-50 blend in place,” said Ryan. 

Stakeholders have also been busy building relationships with lawmakers. Recent visits in Texas, which is still reeling from a devastating storm, were eye-opening for four freshmen congressmen, says John Gallagher, vice president of government relations for VGM. 

“There’s a lot of discussion to be had, but we talked quite a bit about access and what is DME,” he said. “They had a whole host of questions and we were able to establish local DME providers as a point of reference and as a resource.” 


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