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West Virginia lawmakers go to bat for HME

West Virginia lawmakers go to bat for HME

WASHINGTON - A group of senators and representatives from West Virginia has sent a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma saying the agency's May 9 interim final rule “does not go far enough” to ensure continued access to DME for the elderly and disabled in rural areas.

The group points out that, while the IFR reinstates 50/50 blended reimbursement rates, it only does so for rural and non-contiguous areas, not all non-competitive bidding areas.

“We were hopeful that the IFR would prevent further closures and begin to move toward adequate reimbursement for our providers by addressing this issue,” the group wrote in the July 18 letter. “Unfortunately, this did not occur.”

The letter was signed by Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito, and Reps. David McKinley, Alex Mooney and Evan Jenkins.

The lack of more widespread relief, coupled with a 38% reduction in the number of providers in West Virginia, has left much of the Medicare and Medicaid patients in the state in crisis, the group says.

“West Virginia is a rural state and our seniors rely on the compassionate care that our small businesses provide, including home delivery, setup assistance and prompt service when problems arise,” they wrote. “Without this type of service the patient will require a trip to the hospital emergency room or worse possible death."

The group asks CMS to respond to the letter by Aug. 15.

“We implore you to take into account the unique challenges that small providers in our rural state face as CMS considers the final rule,” they wrote.


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