WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 6, 2016)—The American Association for Homecare praised legislation to delay a new round of Medicare reimbursement cuts for rural and non-bid area home medical equipment providers that passed the House today. An amended version of the Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment Act of 2016 (H.R. 5210), passed through the House via voice vote Tuesday, includes the following provisions:

  • Delays the second cut for HME items in non-bid areas until September 30, 2016.
  • Instructs the Dept. of Health & Human Services to study the impact of bidding-derived payment adjustments on suppliers and beneficiary access by September of 2016 (exact date not specified).
  • Includes other non-HME-specific Medicare- and Medicare-related bills that have previously passed the House, as well as other unrelated items as noted in this bill summary.

A Senate version of the legislation (S. 2736), passed on June 24, would delay the cuts through June 2017.

“The House and Senate have both passed legislation instructing CMS to delay a new round of deep cuts for rural home medical equipment providers to make sure these steep reductions aren’t causing problems for Medicare beneficiaries,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of the American Association for Homecare. “This is a clear signal that Congress understands the potential harm to providers and patients alike in cutting these rates to the bone.”

“Now the House and Senate need to complete the process and send a bill to the President,” added Ryan. “With the new rates now going into effect, we need our champions in both the House and Senate to find a way to move forward immediately.”

Ryan also urged home medical equipment providers to contact their representatives in both the House and Senate and ask for their help in moving this process towards a successful conclusion.

“With Congress set to adjourn on July 15, there’s a real sense of urgency to finding a workable solution by next week,” said Ryan. “If the HME community and Congress can’t get rural relief legislation passed, I expect to see more reports of rural providers who are either curtailing their offerings to Medicare beneficiaries, abandoning the program altogether, or going out of business. As a result, seniors and people with disabilities, as well as the people who care for them, are going to find it harder to get the products and services they depend on.”

Visit aahomecare.org for more information.