Oxygen Patient's - Needs Not Being Addressed in CMS’s Final Rule

Leading organizations recognize CMS’s acknowledgement, but disappointed it did not use its statutory authority to improve the lives and treatment for Americans who require supplemental oxygen

WASHINGTON, D.C. (November 2, 2018) — A group of patient and physician groups react to the final rule on Durable Medical Equipment (DME) and its application to supplemental oxygen:

“While our organizations appreciate that members of Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recognize the numerous problems associated with patient access to oxygen in general and liquid oxygen systems, we believe that CMS’s decision today will not ultimately solve the problems facing patients who require supplemental oxygen.

“In September, 20 patient and provider organizations representing the millions of Americans who require supplemental oxygen submitted robust comments to CMS, urging them to carve liquid oxygen out of the competitive bidding program as that was the most effective measure that would ensure patients with severe respiratory issues appropriate access to liquid oxygen. Despite CMS’s acknowledgement of the problems facing patients, especially those who require liquid oxygen, we are disappointed that the Administration chose not to use its full statutory authority to ensure that all patients who require supplemental oxygen receive the treatment they need, or even respond to our specific and unified recommendation to make these needed reforms.

“CMS must now closely monitor patient access and outcome indicators beginning January 1, 2019, to ensure that if patient access issues arise, the agency can re-evaluate this rule and quickly act to address patient needs. Our organizations are committed to working closely with CMS and Congress to ensure that both the clinical and quality of life needs of our patients are met and their concerns addressed. CMS must closely monitor these patients as well as suppliers during this gap period and be prepared to change course and use its full statutory authority if patient needs are not met. If they are not, Congress must be prepared to intervene.

“For too long, patients who require liquid oxygen have not been able to leave their homes, jeopardizing their physical and mental health and quality of life. Patients have also encountered countless other problems, including delivery issues and insufficient amounts of portable oxygen for them to continue working, traveling to doctor appointments, or simply running routine errands. This cannot be allowed to continue during this ‘gap’ period.”

Organizations signing on:
American Association for Respiratory Care American Lung Association
American Thoracic Society
COPD Foundation
National Association for Medical Direction of Respiratory Care (NAMDRC) Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation

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