Moving the HME Industry Forward

Legislative/Advocacy

Senate Finance Committee Addresses DME State Licensure in SGR Bill

December 16, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Finance Committee has marked up a sustainable growth rate (SGR) reform bill that included an amendment to mandate appropriate state licensure. The amendment to the bill, also known as the “doc fix,” was offered and supported by a bi-partisan group of four Senators including Ben Cardin (D-Md), Bob Casey (D-Pa), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich).

“I was able to work with several of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle today on a crucial change that ensures that seniors continue to have access to quality durable medical equipment,” said Portman (pictured) in his opening statement. “This proposal contains language that would require companies to prove that they have appropriate state licensure before they’re able to become durable medical equipment suppliers in that state. This is a critical protection that was lacking in the current bidding system.”

According to AAHomecare officials, this is the first time in since 2008’s Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act that the Senate has taken action to fix the controversial bidding program. Support to replace competitive bidding with a system based on fair and open competition, has grown steadily. There are now 164 cosponsors on H.R. 1717, the Medicare DMEPOS Market Pricing Program Act of 2013.

“The best chance we have of relieving the tremendous burden the badly mismanaged Medicare bidding program has put on patients is to develop fixes based on a real marketplace solution,” said Tom Ryan, president of AAHomecare. “We’ll continue to work closely with the House and Senate to make sure that happens.”

NCPA Supports Proposal for Qualified Expansion of Medication Therapy Management
Programs in Medicare Part D Drug Plans
ALEXANDRIA, VA – Officials from the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) urged U.S. Senators on the Senate Finance Committee to support a proposal intended to expand coverage in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program of medication therapy management (MTM) programs.

The change is proposed by Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan) and Robert Casey (D-Pa) as an amendment to legislation before the Senate committee that would temporarily prevent cuts to Medicare payments to physicians. The Roberts-Casey amendment would require CMS to study whether the coverage of MTM services for patients with one chronic condition would reduce Medicare spending overall through the avoidance of costlier treatments such as hospitalizations.