Washington, D.C. – The highly anticipated companion bill to S. 2736, the Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment (PADME) Act, was introduced in the House of Representatives on Thursday, May 12, 2016. H.R. 5210 was introduced by Reps. Tom Price, M.D. (R-Ga.) and Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa). This bill has gathered broad bi-partisan support as it has been introduced with 40 original co-sponsors including Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.). The introduction of this legislation comes as many providers prepare for the approaching additional cut to reimbursement rates, which averages around 25 percent, in non-competitive bidding areas affecting predominantly rural America. Click here to view the bill announcement with the list of co-sponsors.
We need everyone to reach out to your member of Congress today! Click here to send a message to your member of Congress asking them to support the Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment Act.
VGM Group, Inc. has been working diligently to mitigate these cuts by coordinating its membership of independent durable medical equipment providers in an effort to gather support from Congress. Along with other key industry stakeholders, such as AAHomecare, VGM and its membership have created a strong grassroots effort to bring awareness of the threat to patient access to medical equipment such as oxygen, hospital beds and wheelchairs. This grassroots coalition has garnered broad bi-partisan support from Congress through countless in-district congressional meetings at provider’s stores, testimonials at hearings conducted by the Small Business Administration and thousands of messages to Congress through the VGM Action Center. Through these efforts, providers have shown just how dedicated they are to providing quality care to their patients.
John Gallagher, vice president of Government Relations for VGM, said, “We are extremely proud of our members who have remained determined and engaged to gather support for this legislation, which will provide for a 15-month freeze to current Medicare reimbursement rates. Final passage of this legislation will give the industry time to work with an entirely new administration in 2017 to agree on a long-term solution ensuring that patients in rural America have access to quality medical equipment. “
Providers affected by the expansion of competitive bidding are largely located in sparsely populated areas in comparison to the large, metropolitan competitively bid areas. Providers in rural America have entirely different business models in order to account for their large service area size and decreased population of patients to serve. It is not uncommon for rural providers to travel 100 miles one way to deliver and service medical equipment in a patient’s home, which is unaccounted for in the expansion of competitive bidding.
Congressman Tom Price, M.D said, “Every single day, many rely on durable medical equipment such as wheel chairs, oxygen tanks, and canes to maintain their health and wellbeing. This bipartisan effort seeks to allow providers of this equipment the ability to continue to supply lifesaving medical supplies to patients regardless of where they live.”
Loebsack has joined Price in the introduction of this legislation in an effort to maintain that rural Americans have access to quality medical equipment. “In the near future, severe cuts to the reimbursement rate of DMEs will restrict Iowans’ access to this needed equipment. I am pleased to join my colleagues to help introduce the Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment Act, bipartisan legislation that will delay these cuts while allowing DME providers to continue providing Iowans with the resources they need to live happy, healthy lives,” said Loebsack.
Rural health care is struggling to remain profitable due to declining rural populations, declining reimbursement set by flawed programs and the continuous overreach through the audit and appeal process. DME providers have proven to be steadfast in fighting the highly flawed competitive bidding program in order to provide critical health care supplies to patients. The PADME Act will allow legislators and industry stakeholders to craft a suitable long-term solution to ensure that the millions of people living in rural America will continue to have access to quality medical equipment.
Now is the time for action! We need everyone to reach out to your member of Congress today. Click here to send a message to your member of Congress through the VGM Action Center asking them to support the Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment Act.