The Medicare home oxygen therapy benefit, which provides life-sustaining home oxygen therapy for more than one million beneficiaries with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and other lung diseases, is already scheduled for an estimated 20 percent reduction this year that will take effect over the next several months in the form of the imposition of a cap on Medicare payments after 36 months.
At that time, home oxygen patients will be required to assume responsibility for the service, management, and financial responsibilities associated with equipment ownership. By interrupting the reliable relationship with oxygen providers, these policies threaten the quality of care home oxygen users receive and create an unstable environment for vulnerable beneficiaries. In emergency situations such as power loss or equipment problems, the consequences of this untested policy may be dire.
The additional cuts contemplated by Congress could further jeopardize care for home oxygen users.
The recently established Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) competitive bidding program also creates potential service disruptions for patients due to possible changes in their home oxygen provider. Unfortunately, we don’t yet know how potential service disruptions will affect patients or the ability of providers to retain the service infrastructure for quality healthcare services at home. Before making additional changes to the Medicare benefit, CMS and Congress must carefully assess the impact of competitive bidding on patients.
Without reliable access to home oxygen therapy, users are likely to face more frequent emergency room visits or be forced to receive care in hospitals and nursing homes, instead of their own homes. This treatment, when properly prescribed and used, can slow long degeneration and save taxpayer dollars.
Please ask your U.S. representative and senators to assess the impact of sweeping policy changes already underway and reject any additional changes to this life-saving benefit. Click Here