We got the following news from COPD-Alert:
Medicare Home Oxygen Therapy Act of 2009

Reps. Ross and Meek Introduce "Medicare Home Oxygen Therapy Act of 2009" - Ask Representatives to cosponsor the Bill. The text of the bill is at http://tinyurl.com/ntjmeu

Representatives Mike Ross (D-Ark.) and Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.) introduced an oxygen reform bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. These provisions follow the introduction of the healthcare reform bill introduced in the House on July 14, which addressed oxygen but fell short of repairing fundamental flaws of the oxygen benefit. The Ross-Meek bill makes sweeping changes to the oxygen benefit.

The American Association for Homecare worked closely with the Congressmen to craft the components of the reform proposal. The bill is called the Medicare Home Oxygen Therapy Act of 2009 (H.R. 3220).

Specifically, the Medicare Home Oxygen Therapy Act of 2009:

Repeals the 36-month cap on oxygen, which is the goal of the HOPP Act, so oxygen can be provided to patients as long as medical need continues.

Is budget-neutral, so total Medicare dollars for oxygen therapy do not change. The HOPP Act would likely require oxygen providers to take a cut in reimbursement in order to pay for repeal of the cap. Pulls oxygen therapy out of competitive bidding, which AAHomecare is trying to end for all HME categories. Requires in the law recognition of the essential services that are part of home oxygen therapy. This recognition would end the single focus on equipment costs and help to dispel the myth of equating Medicare home oxygen therapy costs to the cost of an Internet purchase of oxygen equipment.

"The Ross-Meek bill provides an opportunity to help protect oxygen patients, bring stability to oxygen policy, and provide cost transparency," said Tyler Wilson, president of the American Association for Homecare. "We thank Representatives Ross and Meek for championing this important reform legislation."

The new provisions of the legislation would apply to oxygen services and supplies furnished on or after January 1, 2010.

Action is needed: Ask your Representative to co-sponsor this bill.

Securing co-sponsors for the Medicare Home Oxygen Therapy Act of 2009 will increase the likelihood that the provisions would be included in the healthcare reform package currently under consideration in the House of Representatives.

To view potential cosponsors of this bill please view the list of Representatives who signed the recent oxygen reform letter from Congressmen Ross and Meek. To review that list, please go to http://tinyurl.com/nop3n7 (bottom of the document).

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