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GAO Confirms Payment Delays to Medical Equipment Providers; Questions Arise as to Whether Medicare Can Implement Reforms
Date:5/18/2010

nfigured, can effectively implement major program changes without disrupting the services provided to Medicare beneficiaries. Clearly, CMS needs a better understanding of how policy shifts impair stakeholders in the homecare community.  

Wilson noted that home medical equipment providers face numerous obstacles when working with the Medicare program, including deep and disproportionate cuts to reimbursement rates in recent years, shifting regulatory policies and many arbitrary decisions related to patient eligibility. These burdens are driving providers out of Medicare, threatening access to care for seniors and people with disabilities who require homecare.

Wilson called on Don Berwick, M.D., the Harvard professor who has been nominated to be the new CMS administrator, to focus on making the Medicare bureaucracy more efficient and to stop making victims out of legitimate homecare providers.  

"The shortcomings at CMS are having an impact on the delivery of quality service and products to Medicare beneficiaries," Wilson said. "It becomes harder for patients, especially in rural areas, to obtain medical equipment if the only provider for miles goes out of business or can no longer offer a product because the government has created an adverse business climate. Today, CMS is off course. If Dr. Berwick is confirmed, we hope he can right the ship."

The American Association for Homecare represents durable  medical equipment providers, manufacturers, and others in the homecare community who serve the medical needs of millions of Americans who require oxygen equipment and therapy, wheelchairs and assistive technologies, medical supplies, inhalation drug therapy, and other medical equipment and services in their homes. Members operate more than 3,000 homecare locations in
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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