Senate Passes $2 Trillion Stimulus Plan. HME Relief Included!

Published in Member Communities on March 26, 2020

The massive Coronavirus Stimulus package passed the Senate just before midnight last night with a 96-0 vote. The bill will now head over to the House and has to be voted on by Unanimous Consent in order to pass. Since the House members will not likely fly back to Washington D.C. for a vote, the House announced they plan to vote on Friday by a voice vote.

The bill includes language from H.R. 2771, relief for areas deemed rural and non-rural by CMS.

See the bill language here, 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- will get the 75/25 blended rate. That is 75% of the regional competitive bid rates and 25% of the 2015 unadjusted rates.

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.

While we can’t predict the future, if we look at the history of other PHEs (Public Health Emergencies), like H1N1, it extended over a year long.  

Our team as well as other industry stakeholders have been in contact with CMS in regard to the how COVID-19 will effect the Round 2021 competitive bidding program. CMS is aware of the concerns of the industry and is hoping to provide a response in the near future.

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