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Council for Quality Respiratory Care Applauds President Obama's Appointments of Governor Sebelius, DeParle to Lead Health Care Efforts

Home Oxygen Community Welcomes New Leaders Known for Patient Advocacy,

Thoughtful Reform Efforts

WASHINGTON, March 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council for Quality Respiratory Care (CQRC), an alliance of leading home oxygen therapy providers and manufacturers who care for nearly one half of the 1.5 million Medicare patients who depend on the home oxygen benefit for improved quality of life, today praised President Obama's selection of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Nancy-Ann DeParle for Director of the White House Office of Health Reform.

"We applaud the appointments of Governor Sebelius and Ms. DeParle to lead the Administration's efforts to improve the American health care system," said Peter Kelly, Chairman of the CQRC. "As a community that is currently struggling with significant policy changes and deep payment cuts, we welcome their leadership in addressing the issues currently impacting quality home oxygen care and hope to work with them to reform and strengthen the Medicare home oxygen therapy benefit."

As background, on January 1, 2009, massive cuts to the Medicare home oxygen benefit took effect, totaling a cut of $845 million in 2009 alone. In addressing the implementation of the 36-month cap policy, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a regulation that home oxygen providers will no longer receive Medicare payment for patient-generated, non-routine visits or needed oxygen supplies, such as oxygen tubing and masks, after 36-months. The CQRC has urged CMS officials to create reasonable post-cap policies, including payments for emergency services and reimbursement for disposable supplies for the beneficiary's entire length of medical need.

"We commend the Administration for making comprehensive health care reform a priority and share their commitment to crafting long term solutions to the many health care challenges we face today," added Kelly. "We look forward to working with Gov. Sebelius and Ms. DeParle 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."

The Council for Quality Respiratory Care, a coalition of the nation's leading home oxygen therapy providers and manufacturers representing nearly one half of the more than 1.5 million Medicare beneficiaries who depend on the home oxygen benefit for independence and quality of life.

SOURCE Council for Quality Respiratory Care
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