(June 13, 2019)—Minnesota HME leaders thwarted a plan to source incontinence products under Medicaid through a single distributor, with all providers billing for cost+20% for items purchased through that supplier. The low rates under the proposed Preferred Incontinence Provider Program (PIPP) would have placed many providers under severe financial pressure, eliminated product choice for 14,000 individuals and severely impacted access and continuity of care for a vulnerable patient population.
The Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services (MAMES) led a coordinated effort to fight the plan, including lobbying against the PIPP, organizing “capital days,” and filing suit against the Minnesota Dept. of Human Services. The suit resulted in a temporary restraining order that allowed for enough time to effect a fix during state legislative session. After additional lobbying and engagement with the legislature, a law to repeal the PIPP passed and was signed by Govenor Tim Walz on May 31.
Gayle Devin with ActivStyle, chair of AAHomecare’s Medical Supplies Council and one of the leaders of this effort, praised the tireless efforts of Minnesota HME suppliers, “After this long battle I want to thank our legislative supporters as well as the members of MAMES who supported this strategy and helped ‘fight the fight’ all the way through. It’s a testament to what our industry can do when we work together to explain how unsustainable reimbursements and restrictions on patient choice will impact people who depend on HME.”
In Nevada, HME suppliers saw a multi-decade effort to exempt HME from sales tax finally come to fruition. Because exempting HME would require a change to the state’s constitution, the issue would need to passed on a state ballot initiative twice before legislators could take action. After Ballot Question 4 passed in both 2016 and 2018, the legislation was ultimately passed and signed into law on May 28, 2019, with an effective date of July 1, 2019.
May 28 also saw Oklahoma Govenor Kevin Sitt sign HB 1262, adding clear language to the state’s tax code exempting any mobility-enhancing item or medical equipment with a prescription from sales tax. The win is the result of three years’ of concerted effort by Oklahoma Medical Equipment Providers Association (OMEPA), with support from VGM. See more on this great accomplishment by the Oklahoma HME community in this update from OMEPA President Larry Dalton.