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Medical Equipment Providers Closing Doors at Dramatic Rate – What YOU Can Do

Posted on in Legislation

By Collin Brecher, VGM Government Relations

With every passing month, due to substantial cuts in reimbursement rates, home medical equipment providers continue to face difficult decisions — how to keep their doors open, make payroll for the month, fuel the delivery truck — all in an effort to continue delivering vital care to the patients that they serve.

How many peers in YOUR state have left the business? Check out this video to find out.

Since 2013, 40 percent of home medical equipment providers have vanished, leaving patients to scramble to get the care they depend on to live the highest quality of life possible. That's:

  • More than 6,500 businesses, many being small businesses in rural America
  • Tens of thousands of lost jobs, and
  • Several million patients affected by a loss of or change in their health care provider.

Larry Dalton, founder of Advanced Care Medical Equipment in Durant, Oklahoma, shares, “Since January 1, 2015, we have taken substantial hits in reimbursement cuts from Medicare and Medicaid that has hindered us in serving our patients. Advanced Care Medical Equipment has been serving the rural areas of Oklahoma for the past 23 years. We currently have three locations. Over the past 17 years, I've had a total of nine store locations throughout Southern Oklahoma. I've had to close six of them because of the drop in reimbursement rates and increased costs.”

The Problem

The patient and economic impacts of the flawed policies that have come out of Washington, D.C. over the past decade reach far beyond 1 percent of the Medicare budget that the home medical equipment industry takes up. Many states have seen more than a 50 percent drop in the number of providers, leaving patients, especially those in rural America, trying to find care. Some are forced to settle for sub-par care or simply go without it.

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, health care spending continues to grow, claiming 17.8 percent of the U.S. economy. While the government works to reduce the costs of health care and provide the best care possible, it has cut one of the most effective industries in doing just that, saving money while providing top tier care to patients.

There are few industries within the health care sector that can provide an entire month of care, such as oxygen, and have a comparable cost to the average cable bill. While Medicare, and now other payer sources, have cut reimbursement rates to unsustainable levels, the cost of a hospital inpatient stay continues to rise, nearing $11,000 per stay.

How YOU Can Take Action

Reforms to the Medicare competitive bidding program are long overdue. Durable medical equipment plays a vital role in the health care system by providing beneficiaries with the highest quality of life possible while providing extensive savings to the government by keeping patients out of the hospital.

Help get the message out by sharing this video through your social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter.