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Senate Finance Committee Cuts Home Medical Equipment in Reform Package
Date:9/16/2009

Cuts Will Reduce Access to Care for Millions of Seniors; HME Already Subject to Recent Cuts

ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This morning, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) issued his recommendations for healthcare reform in his long-awaited "Chairman's mark" version of the bill. The 220-page bill contains several provisions that affect home medical equipment, ranging from power wheelchairs to anti-fraud measures. The bill does not include specific cuts to oxygen payment rates, but the American Association for Homecare believes that the threat of cuts remains.

"While we favor the goals of health care reform and aggressive measures to reduce fraud and waste in Medicare, the cuts proposed for home medical equipment and related services are unwarranted and disproportionate," said Tyler J. Wilson, President of the Association. "We don't believe the cuts will produce either savings or better care for seniors in the long run."

The draft bill includes billions of dollars in cuts to Medicare, including reductions to the home medical equipment sector that will reduce access to care for seniors. These cuts come on the heels of several years of Medicare reimbursement reductions for homecare, and they will hurt small businesses. The home medical equipment and service sector is one of the smallest and slowest-growing sectors in Medicare according to National Health Expenditures data from the federal government.

Among the cuts and negative impacts detailed in the draft Senate legislation:

Competitive Acquisition Program Expansion. The Chairman's mark would expand the number of areas to be included in Round Two of the bidding program for durable medical equipment from 79 of the largest metropolitan statistical areas to 100.

First-Month Purchase Option for Power Wheelchai
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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