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"The CQRC is deeply troubled and confused by the proposal to add three types of ventilation devices, which are used by highly vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries who otherwise could not remain in their homes, to the competitive bidding program before the modified policies have been implemented," the letter states.
While the Final Rule marks a major milestone for patients and providers throughout the home respiratory care sector, CQRC remains concerned that applying the budget neutrality factor to home oxygen therapy will continue to create access problems for patients.
"We are pleased that MedPAC supports much-needed reforms to Medicare's flawed competitive bidding program for DMEPOS like home oxygen supplies and equipment," said Dan Starck, Chairman of the CQRC. "It has become increasingly clear that the current CBP is unsustainable for oxygen providers, forcing many to make the daunting choice of closing up shop or cutting services to communities they have served loyally for decades.
"This report validates what oxygen providers have been warning for years: that insufficient reimbursement rates make it harder to stay in business and serve Medicare patients who require supplemental oxygen and respiratory care to live independently," said Dan Starck, Chairman of the CQRC. "No business can take on a 39 percent average cut to reimbursement and expect to survive long.
"The PRI research reinforces what the CQRC has been reporting to the Congress and CMS for some time now," said Dan Starck, Chairman of CQRC.
"The CQRC is pleased the Administration has worked closely with the home respiratory therapy community, including suppliers, physicians, patients, and manufacturers, as well as other DME suppliers to develop the proposed rule," said Dan Starck, Chairman of the CQRC.
"The OIG's assessment of the Competitive Bidding Program's impact on patient access is once again misleading and based on a survey with significant limitations," said Dan Starck, Chairman of the CQRC. "It is past time for CMS to correct the competitive bidding methodology with a set of rules that ensures access to oxygen and home therapies for Medicare patients in need of respiratory care as well as adequate reimbursement to providers dedicated to the delivery of high quality home oxygen care."
Despite the steps forward, the CQRC is concerned that the IFR does not extend to nonrural, non-CBAs, which will still face the burden of not being adequately reimbursed.
Dan Starck, Chairman of the CQRC, welcomed the release of the report by saying, "This report shows that it is time that CMS reform the flawed competitive bidding methodology with a set of rules that ensure Medicare patients with respiratory issues can have unobstructed access to the oxygen and home therapies they deserve."
Commended by the CQRC as an important first step, the home respiratory care community continues to work toward comprehensive reforms to the method by which rates are set under the competitive bidding program to stabilize the benefit for Medicare beneficiaries living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and other respiratory illness.
To learn more, visit cqrc.org and follow CQRC on Twitter at @TheCQRC.
The CQRC has expressed concern that the current program policies, particularly the methodology for determining the rates, impede care providers and suppliers from bidding amounts that align with their costs or that are driven by actual market forces.
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