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CQRC Statement on the NY Times Article on Medicare's Home Oxygen Benefit
Date:11/30/2007

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today's New York Times story on home oxygen therapy omits salient facts about home oxygen therapy and the critical role it plays in keeping some of Medicare's sickest beneficiaries in their own homes as they manage the effects of debilitating and irreversible lung disease.

The story inappropriately treats home oxygen therapy as though it is nothing more than the rental of inert equipment, when in fact home oxygen is a prescribed therapy, that when properly administered, requires both medical devices and myriad patient services. Oxygen providers deliver critical services that help this oft-overlooked beneficiary segment manage their chronic disease and therapy between physician visits, which in turn helps to avoid costly hospital admissions, serious complications, and sometimes even death. Home oxygen providers are often the physician's eyes and ears in the patient's home setting.

Home Oxygen Therapy is an important and cost-effective treatment for COPD. Every year, millions of Medicare beneficiaries are treated for the effects of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. COPD is a progressive, non-curable disease that causes irreversible loss of lung function and threatens the ability of patients to perform even routine, daily tasks. COPD is the fourth largest killer in the United States. The average home oxygen patient is a 73-year old, frail female who lives alone, does not drive and takes multiple medications for multiple disease conditions. The sickest COPD patients need oxygen therapy to breathe and remain stable at home. Oxygen therapy providers are often the first line of care for these patients -- helping to maintain proper patient compliance with their prescribed oxygen therapy, thereby helping to slow lung degeneration and avoid hospitalizations.

These points were reinforced in a separate article reported in the Wednesday, November 28th New York Times story by Denise Gra
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SOURCE CQRC
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