Senate Omnibus Bill Does Not Mention HME – home medical equipment – Brief Article
Byline: Brook Raflo
Home medical equipment providers breathed a sigh of relief Jan. 24, after the U.S. Senate passed a $390 billion omnibus budget package that did not include HME competitive bidding. The omnibus package consists of 11 appropriations bills that address almost every government function for the 2003 fiscal year.
Responding to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s request, the package delayed a 4.4 percent Medicare physician reimbursement cut, slated to take effect this year, and brought reimbursements for rural and small urban hospitals in line with reimbursements for large urban hospitals.
The Senate’s package also included a 5 percent rural home health add-on for a six-month period, ending Sept. 30, 2003. “The current 10 percent rural add-on is scheduled to expire April 1, 2003, if no extension is agreed to by Congress,” the Alexandria, Va.-based American Association for Homecare explained.
All in all, the omnibus package held few surprises for the HME industry. “I was afraid this bill would open the door to everyone’s pet issues, but what [Grassley’s] saying is that everything else can wait until we have a comprehensive Medicare reform package,” said David Williams, director of government relations at Elyria, Ohio-based Invacare.
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