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As Congress Debates Competitive Bidding Program, Home Oxygen Beneficiaries and Providers Left to Cope with 27 Percent Cut to Medicare Home Oxygen Benefit
Date:2/11/2009

Home Oxygen Care Leaders Hope to Move Policymakers to "Thoughtful Dialogue"

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As Members of Congress gather today to debate the merits of the Medicare Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics & Supplies (DMEPOS) competitive bidding program, home oxygen leaders call on legislators to carefully assess the impact repeated policy changes are having on beneficiary services and much needed service-oriented jobs. The home oxygen community is already absorbing the impact of two new policies that went into effect earlier this year, in the form of a 36-month cap on payments for home oxygen therapy and a 9.5 percent across-the-board payment reduction, totaling more than $845 million in reductions in 2009 alone. Congress must take into account the magnitude of these cuts and the potential challenges they will create for the more than 1.5 million Americans who depend on this benefit for improved quality of life and the thousands of health care workers who provide home oxygen care.

"As industry leaders serving tens of thousands of frail elderly, the CQRC asks policymakers to closely monitor the effects of these deep cuts on both beneficiaries and providers to ensure that patient access to essential home oxygen care is not compromised," said Peter Kelly, Chairman of the Council for Quality Respiratory Care (CQRC). "We look forward to working with lawmakers to create a thoughtful and lasting solution for the home oxygen therapy benefit that recognizes patient needs and services, sets high quality standards for providers and offers additional tools for combating fraud and abuse."

As background, on January 1, 2009, massive cuts to the Medicare home oxygen benefit took effect, sending a slow but growing tidal wave of change throughout the provider community. As a result of the cap, home oxygen providers no longer receive Medicare payment for patient-generated, non-ro
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SOURCE Coalition for Quality Respiratory Care
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