You are here

Mark Brager
May 13, 2016

AdvaMed Supports House Legislation to Preserve Medicare Patient DME Access

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Scott Whitaker, president and CEO of the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), issued the following statement after introduction of bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to preserve Medicare patient access to needed durable medical equipment:

“Durable medical equipment (DME) – including oxygen, respiratory equipment, hospital beds, and negative pressure wound therapy pumps – is vital to maintaining and improving the health and quality of life for millions of Medicare patients needing these products in their homes.

“Unfortunately, many of these patients are at risk for losing access to these crucial technologies due to severe cuts to DME payment rates scheduled to be fully phased in by July 1 when CMS expands its competitive bidding program.

“For this expansion, CMS is using payment information based on bidding that did not take place in non-competitive bidding areas – many of which are rural in nature – where costs of providing products to Medicare beneficiaries may be very different and not representative of costs in existing competitively bid areas. These beneficiaries already face challenges to accessing DME, and with a potential cut in reimbursement for some medical technologies of more than 50 percent, there will be serious hardships for both Medicare patients and DME providers.

“The legislation – the Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment (PADME) Act – will preserve patient access to needed DME by delaying these reimbursement cuts until Oct. 1, 2017. In addition, PADME will require CMS to take additional steps to help ensure beneficiaries’ continued access to quality supplies and services, including consideration of additional criteria for payment adjustment, needed modifications to the bid ceiling, and monthly monitoring of the expansion of the competitive bidding program.

“AdvaMed has long maintained that CMS’s competitive bidding program has advanced without rigorous evaluation or a clear understanding of its impact on beneficiaries’ access to the products they require. We commend the PADME lead sponsors, Reps. Tom Price (R-Ga.) and David Loebsack (D-Iowa), and the other co-sponsors of the legislation, for their leadership in working to ensure Medicare patients continue to have access to needed DME.

“We look forward to working with members of Congress, CMS and other key stakeholders to advance this legislation.”

# # #