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Montana Providers ‘Confident’ with Support of SBA after Roundtable Event

Posted on in HME Government Issues

BOZEMAN, Mont. -- Numerous industry leaders representing rural providers of DMEPOS, complex rehab technology and pharmacies attended the U.S. Small Business Administration roundtable discussion on Regulatory Enforcement Fairness here July 21. SBA National Ombudsman for Small Business Brian Castro heard providers talk about the audit and appeals process set up by CMS and the rural rollout of the Competitive Bidding Program. Andrew Jeske, CEO of American Seating & Mobility, said he was recently notified of an ALJ meeting for an appeal he filed in September 2012. “These unreasonable and excessive audits from CMS are crippling to durable medical equipment providers in Montana. Audits are holding up revenue, for multiple years in most cases, that is crucial to the survival of rural providers.” The last reported figure of backlogged appeals by CMS was over 870,000. Also a hot topic was the expansion of competitive bidding area rates to rural America, which means significantly reduced reimbursement rates. If suppliers choose to accept Medicare assignments, they will have to accept reimbursement rates of up to 50 percent less than the current fee schedule over a period of six months beginning Jan. 1, 2016. Mike Calcaterra, Montana chairman of Big Sky AMES said, “These cuts are already putting rural providers in an especially challenging position. We face much different obligations than metropolitan areas. Fueling an SUV for an oxygen tank delivery that is 75 miles one-way is unsustainable with the proposed cuts. We are confident the SBA will advocate on behalf of small businesses to support our industry.” In the meeting Brian Castro showed strong signs of support and was actively engaged with the group of DMEPOS providers that were in attendance. His role as the National Ombudsman is to advocate for small businesses that face excessive fines, penalties, or unfair regulatory enforcement actions. He assured the group that the SBA is very aware of the problems associated with competitive bidding and audits and would be addressing those issues with members of the Montana delegation in Helena this week. There will be another roundtable July 23 at the University of Great Falls- Absolon Lounge, 1301 20th St. South, Great Falls, Mont. Small businesses are encouraged to attend the discussion to provide input on harmful regulations. [caption id="attachment_3900" align="alignnone" width="337"]SBA Leadership From left, beginning with gentleman with red tie, John Hart, regional advocate for SBA; Brian Castro, national ombudsman for SBA; Morgan Darlington, aide for Sen. Daines (R-MT), aide to Rep. Zinke (R-MT). SBA Leadership From left, beginning with gentleman with red tie, John Hart, regional advocate for SBA; Brian Castro, national ombudsman for SBA; Morgan Darlington, aide for Sen. Daines (R-MT), aide to Rep. Zinke (R-MT).[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3899" align="alignnone" width="344"]1 VGM Members From left, Mike Calcaterra (Norco, Regional VP), Andrew Jeske (American Seating & Mobility, CEO), Torger Sikveland (The Comfort Company, VP of Gov. Relations)[/caption]

 

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