Problems with Round 2? Call Congress on July 18
Just nine days into Round 2, AAHomecare is receiving reports of delays, equipment shortages, and contractors refusing services in bid areas around the country. Yet, CMS is reporting just a few dozen complaints.
Don’t let CMS pull the wool over Congress’ eyes! It is absolutely vital that Representatives and Senators hear from HME providers like you and your patients—current or former—about problems with the bidding program. An effective way to pressure Congress to stop bidding and replace it with the market pricing program is for them to hear horror stories directly from their constituents.
To make the biggest impact, AAHomecare is coordinating efforts with VGM, The MED Group, and state associations to hold a virtual fly-in next Thursday, July 18 for providers and patients from all across the country. This virtual fly-in is your opportunity to tell Congress about problems you or your patients have experienced since the implementation of Round 2.
AAHomecare will send providers information about problems collected in each state, as well as a website address to use when emailing Representatives and Senators and a phone number staffed by operators who will put callers through to congressional offices.
Thank you for everything you have done so far in the effort to stop “competitive” bidding. Please join us and take action by phone, fax, or email on July 18. If you have any questions, contact AAHomecare’s Jay Witter at firstname.lastname@example.org. When you receive feedback from your e-mails and calls, please forward it to Jay.
Clarifying Round 2 Rules
As Round 2 gets underway, many homecare providers still have questions about what they can and cannot do. While the answer often starts with “It depends on…,” here is some brief guidance for a couple of the areas that AAHomecare receives a lot of questions about.
Repairs and Maintenance
Specifically, providers are concerned about maintenance of DME by non-contract winners. The CBIC has published a thorough Medicare Learning Network fact sheet on the requirements and options when repairing or servicing equipment is needed.
Non-contract winners who have chosen to grandfather their current patients have an obligation to maintain that equipment for its useful life (5 years). A non-contract winner can repair an item that has capped and file for repairs beyond warranty-covered items. Beneficiaries are not required to use a contract winner to service their capped equipment.
The Form C requirements for Round 2 have changed considerably from Round 1. The intent under Round 2 is to update the product offerings on Medicare’s website that are used by both Medicare customer service representatives and beneficiaries when they are searching for providers and equipment. The information can be considered a marketing tool that lets the public know what products a provider stocks. Keeping this in mind, it should be as comprehensive as the provider believes is necessary to attract beneficiaries.
For additional information to help you manage your business in a bid area, go to the CBIC website.
HR 1717 Reaches 135 Cosponsors
H.R. 1717 continues to gain support in the House of Representatives as the stories of Round 2 beneficiary access problems and confusion flow into the People for Quality Care hotline (1-800-404-8702), AAHomecare, and to congressional offices. Check the AAHomecare Action Center to make sure that your Representative is on the bill. If they are not, send them an email or give them a call. Keep reminding your member of Congress of the importance of cosponsoring H.R. 1717 to stop the dangerously misguided CMS bidding program.