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Stakeholders rally to change face-to-face requirement

Stakeholders rally to change face-to-face requirement

WASHINGTON - The delay in the enforcement of the face-to-face rule buys time for HME industry stakeholders to seek changes.

One change they'd like to make: A requirement that only physicians can sign off on the face-to-face exam and equipment orders. The requirement has caused delays in patient discharges.

“It might be easier in cities where doctors are around all the time, but here, hunting down the doctor can be next to impossible,” said Rose Schafhauser, executive director of the Midwest Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers (MAMES).

MAMES is working with other state associations to develop a handout to give to members of Congress that details problems with the current requirement.

It's not just the HME industry that takes issue with the requirement: AAHomecare in late September met with the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and the Association for the Advancement of Wound Care to discuss how the groups might work together. AANP already has language drafted to remove the “physician” reference, says Kim Brummett, director of regulatory affairs for AAHomecare.

“While we have this delay in enforcement, we're going to continue to work with nurse practitioners to get this language changed,” she said.

Besides nurse practitioners, stakeholders might have another unlikely ally in changing the face-to-face requirement: CMS.

“CMS didn't like the face-to-face requirement from the get-go,” said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Invacare. “It doesn't give CMS much discretion. The question is whether they'll agree with the changes (the industry) wants.”


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