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Home Oxygen Care Leaders Applaud U.S. Senate for Passing Medicare Bill to Improve and Protect Home Oxygen Benefit
Date:7/10/2008

Newly Passed Legislation Recognizes Critical Care Needs of 1.4 Million Home Oxygen Beneficiaries

WASHINGTON, July 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Council for Quality Respiratory Care (CQRC), an alliance of the nation's 11 leading home oxygen therapy providers and manufacturers representing nearly one half of Medicare's home oxygen beneficiaries, today praised the Senate for passing the House's Medicare package (HR. 6331), which protects Medicare's home oxygen benefit for more than one million beneficiaries. The bill, also passed in the House as the Medicare Improvements of Patients and Providers Act, repeals a requirement for beneficiaries to take ownership of their oxygen therapy devices after 36 months. This requirement, originally enacted by the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA), would have put patients and their families at risk by creating serious safety hazards. Oxygen is a medically-prescribed drug subject to strict regulation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and can be dangerous if not stored, administered or used properly.

A transfer of ownership to the patient would have required patients to manage the servicing and maintenance of their own equipment. Due to the fragile condition of many home oxygen therapy patients, requiring them to be solely responsible for the proper maintenance of their equipment is an unnecessary risk. Suppliers would no longer be able to ensure home oxygen therapy devices are being stored and cared for properly, jeopardizing patients' ability to benefit from the therapy as prescribed.

"We thank the Senate for passing this much needed legislation, which protects Medicare's home oxygen therapy benefit," said Peter Kelly, chairman of the CQRC. "By voting to pass this legislation, the Senate recognizes the dangers associated with requiring vulnerable patients to take ownership of their equipment and corrects this flawed policy. As providers of home oxygen therapy and services to nearly half of
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SOURCE Council for Quality Respiratory Care
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