PADME Passes the House! What’s Next?

Posted on in HME Government Issues

By Collin Brecher, VGM Government Relations

This week the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5210, the Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment Act of 2016, under suspension of House rules. A suspension is a procedure used by Congress to pass non-controversial bills in a quick manner. The procedure allowed H.R. 5210 to be expedited through the committee process that legislation typically goes through and go directly to the House floor for a vote.

This legislation would reverse the Medicare reimbursement cuts to rural areas of the country that went into effect July 1 and delay those cuts by three months to September 30. The bill would also call for increased accountability from CMS and require CMS to monitor and report on how the January 1 first round of reimbursement cuts are impacting Medicare beneficiaries in rural areas.

What’s next?

H.R. 5210 moves back to the Senate, which passed its companion bill, S. 2736, on June 21. The two chambers will have the opportunity to come to an agreement as to the final language between H.R. 5210 and S. 2736, which calls for a 12-month delay in reimbursement cuts to July 1, 2017.

Upon agreement and passage in Congress, the bill will head to President Obama’s desk to be signed and enacted. There is a short window for the House and Senate to agree before they adjourn for the August recess. The sense of urgency from bill sponsors is very evident from the amount of collaboration between the two bodies to work towards a resolution.

It is important to reiterate that although both bills have been passed, it does not mean that the industry is through the finish line. There is still work to be done to come to agreement on the bill’s language.

The dedication and perseverance of both urban and rural providers across the country in advocacy efforts has had a great impact on the final passage of both of these bills as a total of more than 150 congressional leaders sponsored the bills.

VGM, along with other industry stakeholders, will continue to monitor the discussions as both chambers work towards an agreement on the proper action moving forward. Please stay tuned for continuous updates in coming days and weeks through our Legislative Updates and VGM Government Relations Facebook page.