WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 29, 2019)—As the home medical equipment industry prepares for the next round of the competitive bidding program, patient advocacy groups are rallying around the latest category added to the program—non-invasive ventilation (NIV). In a letter dated May 16, multiple groups addressed Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma on the need to keep home ventilators out of the program.

The ALS Association, COPD Foundation, United Spinal Association, American Lung Association, among others wrote, “Patients who require NIV should not have to rely upon the lowest bidder to receive the life- sustaining complex services and equipment necessary to remain in their homes and communities. The impact on Medicare beneficiaries could also lead to unintended consequences for ventilated Medicaid recipients, many of whom are children with multiple serious chronic conditions. Because Medicaid is required to cap reimbursement for durable medical equipment at equivalent Medicare rates, CMS must be particularly mindful of the likely serious negative impact of including ventilators under the CBP will have on these frail and vulnerable individuals.”

The letter also included a timetable of policy recommendations to CMS regarding technology changes and scientific advancements.

Read the full text of the letter here.