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Mullin Introduces Bill to Ensure Access to Home Medical Equipment

Today, Congressman Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) and Congressman Paul Tonko (NY-05) introduced the bipartisan Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) Relief Act to address unsustainable reimbursement rates hurting Home Medical Equipment (HME) suppliers. These outdated rates, put in place by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), have failed to consider the increased cost of providing care throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and are impeding HME suppliers’ ability to offer home-based care.

“In my district, many of these small businesses are the only suppliers of home medical equipment for miles. They must stay in business to ensure patient access,” Mullin said. “Rural areas already face unique challenges when it comes to quality health care. Access to HME, such as oxygen tanks and walkers, is critical for patients to continue living out their daily lives from the comfort of their homes. I am proud Rep. Tonko is joining me in introducing this bill to help patients get the care they need.”

“Now more than ever, Americans need access to affordable home medical equipment, but outdated reimbursement rates for lifesaving medical equipment is making it increasingly difficult for small businesses to deliver that vital care,” Tonko said. “I’m proud to join Congressman Mullin to introduce bipartisan legislation that will address the rising cost of care, and will help ensure that our seniors and all patients are supported.”

This bill would provide for a new blended rate, as previously used by CMS. Specifically, 90 percent of the rate would come from the current competitive bidding rates and 10 percent would come from the 2015 Medicare fee schedule rates. This would apply to the 13 DME categories that were removed from the current round of the DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program. The industry has seen a 50 percent reimbursement cut since 2016, and it is estimated that this legislation will result in a 10-15 percent increase in current reimbursement rates to address significantly rising costs due to both the pandemic and inflation.

 

“Medicare reimbursement rates for home medical equipment haven’t kept pace with rising product and operational costs for suppliers over the last several years.  This legislation will help bring rates and market realities in line and allow suppliers to continue to support seniors and other vulnerable patients at home,” said Tom Ryan, AAHomecare President and CEO. “We thank Congressmen Mullin and Tonko for spearheading this legislation and recognizing how high-quality home-based care can deliver better patient outcomes while reducing overall healthcare costs.”

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