Moving the HME Industry Forward

Legislative/Advocacy

AAHomecare Continues to Advocate Against Double Dip Cuts for Stationary Oxygen

April 24, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC – As first reported in December, AAHomecare has been working to get rural and non-bid area oxygen suppliers relief from “double dip” cuts in the 2017 Medicare fee schedule for stationary oxygen, which results in rates for rural and other non-bid area suppliers that are lower than the competitive bidding rates for this product category in many CBAs.

These new rates stem from the application of a 2006 budget neutrality offset balancing increased utilization for oxygen generating portable equipment with lower reimbursement for stationary equipment.

AAHomecare originally raised concerns about the issue in this letter to the outgoing CMS General Counsel and is now engaging new leadership at HHS and CMS on the issue. We would like to reinforce these efforts by generating Congressional interest and support on the issue as well.

If these additional cuts are impacting your company’s bottom line and your ability to serve patients, please let your Senators and Representative know your concerns, and ask them to contact CMS on your behalf. You can use these points as a guideline for your discussions with CMS:

1) Medicare improperly reduced payments for E1390 concentrators by applying a regulation introduced in 2006 that only should be applied to unadjusted fee schedules called the budget neutrality offset.
2) CMS’ inappropriate application of the budget neutrality offset has resulted in rural and non-bid area rates being lower than CBA rates in many cases.
3) The 2017 adjusted fee schedule payments for stationary oxygen equipment must be consistent with those based on regional average SPAs from CBAs.
4) How these cuts affect your business and patients.

If you need any assistance in crafting your message or contact information for healthcare legislative assistants in House & Senate offices, please contact Gordon Barnes at gordonb@aahomecare.org. View AAHomecare’s comparison of the rural and non-bid area rates to selected bid area rates for more perspective.

Audit Key Open and Seeking Data
WASHINGTON, DC – The HME Audit Key is currently open. Providers may log in today and begin the submission process for data from the 1st Quarter of 2017. If you are a Brightree customer, this process has become even easier.  The Audit Key is open to all HME suppliers, so feel free to share with industry peers, even if they are not AAHomecare members.  

Suppliers can go to HMEAuditKey.org to register; participation is free, you just need one of your organization’s NPIs and respective 5-digit zip code to register and get started.  If you have previously registered but haven’t taken part, you can retrieve your username/password here.

Reminder: Individual Audit Data is NOT Required—The Audit Key does not require you to submit data on individual claims, but instead seeks cumulative counts of pre- and post-payment audits and appeal outcomes under DME MAC, RAC and SMRC reviews.

Your participation will help us build a strong data-set of performance benchmarks while also helping the HME community make the case on Capitol Hill and at CMS for much-needed audit reform.  If you haven’t yet participated in the HME Audit Key, please consider joining this data-driven campaign to fix Medicare Audits.