House Passes Coronavirus Stimulus Plan - HME Legislation Included! Heading To The President's Desk

Published in Member Communities on March 27, 2020

Today, the Coronavirus Stimulus Package, H.R. 748, passed the House. The bill will now head to President Trump’s desk for his signature. Much needed reimbursement relief will be coming to home medical equipment suppliers! The bill includes language from H.R. 2771, which provides relief for areas deemed rural and non-rural by CMS.

See the bill language here on page 383, Sec. 3172, Revising Payment Rates for Durable Medical Equipment Under Medicare Program Through Duration of Emergency Period.

Rural and contiguous areas: This will extend the reimbursement rates for beyond 2020, for the duration of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE).

Non-Rural and noncontiguous areas will get the 75/25 blended rate. That is 75% of the regional competitive bid rates and 25% of the 2015 unadjusted rates. See the sample below with current reimbursement examples.

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The rates will be will be retroactive as of March 6, 2020, through the remainder of the duration of emergency period. While we can’t predict the future, if we look at the history of other PHEs, like H1N1, it extended over a year long.  

Additionally, this bill will temporarily lift the automatic 2% Medicare payment cuts imposed by what is known as federal sequestration and will increase pay for hospitals treating Medicare patients with COVID-19 by 20%. Each of those measures are estimated to be worth about $10 billion, according to a Republican Senate Finance Committee aide. The bill also delays a scheduled cut in Medicaid funding to certain hospitals that was to have gone into effect on May 22.

Industry champions, Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), both played a large part in getting this legislation included. Rose Schafhauser and the MAMES state association, along with VGM members, were directly reaching out to these senate offices encouraging the legislation. We also want to thank industry leader Jay Witter of AAHomecare who worked tirelessly on the hill to ensure this language was included. Thanks also goes out to other industry leaders like CQRC and NCART.

Grassroots activities were happening all throughout the country these past few weeks. There are too many to name. But thank you to all who encouraged your members of Congress and senators to include and support this language in the bill. 

Reach out to your member of Congess and ask for assistance with PPE!

You can now send a message directly to your member of Congress asking to make home medical equipment suppliers a priority when distributing Personal Protective Equipment. Click here to send an instant message. You can edit/customize the message to tell your own company’s story and need for PPE. Reach out today!

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