Pressure is on for approval from Director Mulvaney

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 31, 2018)—With H.R. 4229 under consideration in the House, it’s natural that HME stakeholders are focusing much of their attention on increasing the co-sponsor rolls (now at 116 co-sponsors) for that legislation. AAHomecare also encourages contacting OMB Director Mick Mulvaney to ask that he approve and release the Interim Final Rule (IFR) rolling back bidding-derived reimbursement cuts for HME, sent over by CMS in August.

MAMES president, Patrick Naeger from Missouri-based Healthcare Equipment and Supply Co., has reached out to his members of Congress to get their help to push OMB for action on the IFR. In December, Blaine Lutkemeyer (R-Mo.) had a call with Mulvaney on the issue. This month, Sen. Roy Blunt’s (R-Mo.) office also reached out to Mulvaney's office with a letter encouraging action on the rule, according to Naeger.

In his letter, Blunt points out that many of his constituents “will have no choice but to transition to full-time skilled nursing facilities if they do not have access to DME that makes it possible for them to remain independent and in their homes for a fraction of the cost” and asks for expedited approval of the IFR.

“I can't stress enough the need to keep the pressure on at OMB,” Naeger notes. “While the legislative effort is important, we do not have the luxury of time, for we are seeing this industry shrink and many are struggling to stay in business!  We need an all-hands-on-deck approach to figure out who can best influence Director Mulvaney.”

Points to make in reaching out to legislators on the IFR:

  • In late August, CMS sent an Interim Final Rule (IFR) to the Office of Management & Budget that would roll back a portion of unsustainable bidding-derived reimbursement cuts that are affecting Medicare reimbursement rates in rural areas as well as TRICARE, Medicaid, and other payors who follow that fee schedule.  For many mainstream HME products, these rates have been cut by 40-50%—and more—even driving down reimbursement rates below the supplier’s cost of providing the equipment in a large number of cases.
  • Briefly note how these cuts are impacting your business and your patients.
  • The Ask: Please provide a measure of relief for HME suppliers and the communities they serve by contacting Director Mulvaney at OMB and asking that he approve the IFR.

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