WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 18, 2018)—At a House Appropriations Committee hearing today on the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations for the Office of Management & Budget (OMB), Director Mick Mulvaney confirmed that his agency is working to release the HME-related Interim Final Rule (IFR) originally sent from CMS in August 2017. While Mulvaney did not give a firm timeline for action, he referenced the strong Congressional interest in getting the rule released and noted that he had "probably received more calls about this than any other rule put together."

Mulvaney's comments were in response to a question from Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-Kansas), who has said he has been hearing from his constituents on this issue and described the bidding program as hindering the ability of Medicare beneficiaries to receive home oxygen and other HME products.

HME industry representatives from ROTECH, MAMES as well as HME suppliers in Kansas raised the visibility of this issue with Rep. Yoder, and grassroots outreach from HME stakeholders across the country have helped make moving the IFR a priority for their legislators—ultimately making a strong impression at OMB. AAHomecare emphasizes keeping the pressure on and continuing to build awareness and support for the IFR and HR 4229 in the weeks ahead.

A video of the exchange between Director Mulvaney and Rep. Yoder can be seen here. An approximate transcript is also shown below.

Rep. Yoder: Director Mulvaney, just a couple of quick questions here. I’ve heard from a number of constituents concerned about the Medicare Durable Medical Equipment program, including patients who rely on home medical equipment therapy in order to remain in their homes, and unfortunately, the CMS bidding system for durable medical equipment has hindered the ability of Medicare patients to access these vital devices.

I’m aware that an interim final rule from CMS that addresses this issue is currently at OMB and the rule has been pending since August of last year. As you know, Congress had included report language to accompany the FY 2019 Omnibus urging that the Rule is finished. Can you share an update where the Rule is in this process, and how far away from finalization that might be, and what steps is OMB taking right now to review the rule in a timely manner?

Dir. Mulvaney: I can share with you where it is in the process, Mr. Yoder, but because of where it is in the process, that’s the only answer I can give you, which is that it is currently under review at the Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs, and we do not comment once things are at OIRA.

I will say this: I have probably received more calls about this than any other rule put together. Since we’re aware of the urgency to members of both parties, I’m interested in getting it out as quickly as we possibly can]. That being said, it’s a fairly complex rule, and it’s absolutely critical that we get it right because of the scope of this rule, so I won’t be able to comment...

Rep. Yoder: I don’t think we’re asking for anything more than you’re clearly aware that this is a critical issue for our constituents and I hope you’re going to work on it as fast as you can, but do it the right way.

Dir. Mulvaney: Yes, sir.

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