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Issue Background

Delay Next round of Cuts for Rural Suppliers

S. 2736 was introduced in the Senate on 03/16/2016

 

Legislation to delay a new round of cuts to rural and non-bid area suppliers and provide additional fixes to the Medicare competitive bidding program for home medical equipment (HME) was introduced late yesterday in the Senate.  The lead sponsors for the Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment Act (S. 2736), are Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).

This bipartisan, non-controversial, and budget-neutral bill will:

  • Delay the second cut for HME items in non-bid areas by 15 months.  This would push back the second cut from July 1, 2016 until at least Oct. 1, 2017.
  • Replace the bid ceiling for future rounds of bidding with the unadjusted fee service rates from January 1, 2015 instead of CMS’ current plans to limit future bid ceilings to the previous bid rates.
  • Require CMS to solicit stakeholder input and take into account travel costs, volume, clearing price and information on the numbers of providers serving bid areas as part of rate-setting activities for Jan. 2019 and beyond.
  • Require CMS to monitor and report on access issues and health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries utilizing HME, with updates provided on the CMS website on a monthly basis.
  • Advance the start date of the federal portion of Medicaid reimbursement mirroring Medicare rates by three months from calendar year 2019 (Jan. 1) to fiscal year 2019 (Oct 1, 2018).

Additional co-sponsors at introduction include Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Angus King (I-Maine), and Jon Tester (D-Mont.).
 

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