Very important news! "Home Oxygen Patient Protection Act"

Rep. Joe Schwarz (R-MI), a physician, has introduced a bill to reverse the oxygen provisions of the, Deficit Reduction Act #S1932.  This new bill is called the "Home Oxygen Patient Protection Act" (H.R. 5513)

As you may know, last minute language was inserted into the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (DRA) mandating that Medicare beneficiaries assume ownership of their oxygen equipment after 36 months.  This countdown went into effect January 1 of this year, 2006.  There have been many serious concerns about the financial and safety implications for vulnerable oxygen users as well as about the many ambiguities of this bill.  Advocacy groups and other stakeholders visited Capitol Hill numerous times following the passage of the DRA.  Many emails and letters were sent in efforts to inform the legislators, and their legislative staffs, about this oxygen provision and the many ways it might negatively impact their constituents on oxygen.

On May 25, Congressman and medical doctor Joe Schwarz (R-MI) introduced the Home Oxygen Patient Protection Act, or H.R. 5513.  Co-sponsors include Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), also a physician, Rep. Ralph Regula (R-OH), Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R-OH), Rep. David Hobson (R-OH), and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH).

The bill amends part B of title XVIII of the Social Security Act to restore the Medicare treatment of ownership of oxygen equipment to that which was in effect before enactment of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.

We hope all homecare providers, patients, and their families as well as their medical teams will support Congressman Joe Schwarz and we urge other Members of Congress, especially their state representatives, to cosponsor and pass this extremely important bill, HR.5513! 

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