People for Quality Care: More Beneficiaries Paying for DME
- By Laurie Watanabe
- Oct 27, 2016
Continuing funding cuts have led to more Medicare beneficiaries reaching into their own pockets to pay for durable medical equipment (DME) that Medicare should be purchasing, according to People for Quality Care.
The organization, which advocates for beneficiary access to quality DME, says its consumer hotline has been logging more calls from seniors reporting that they’re having trouble accessing DME via Medicare. In addition, more beneficiaries are reporting that they’re buying DME themselves.
Kelly Turner, director of advocacy for People for Quality Care, said, “Forty percent of our calls are from patients and family caregivers who are now being asked to pay out of pocket for their home medical equipment that should be covered by Medicare. Many patients don’t have the financial capacity to take on this additional cost, yet the companies who serve them are operating in the red with Medicare’s current reimbursement. Both sides are being squeezed. It’s a no-win system.”
People for Quality Care blamed the situation on “slashed funding for vital home medical equipment this summer,” which the organization described as being in the range of 50 to 80 percent.
People for Quality Care added that reduced Medicare funding cuts for DME also continue to endanger home medical equipment businesses. One possible outcome if reimbursement continues to drop, the organization said, is that more suppliers could elect not to work with Medicare at all. That would make it even more difficult for Medicare beneficiaries to find suppliers to work with to attain much-needed DME.
In a news announcement, People for Quality Care said, “If Congress doesn’t intervene, companies will stop taking Medicare all together or close, leaving patients with no alternative but to go without, resulting in increased ER visits, hospitalizations, and premature admissions to skilled nursing facilities.”
People for Quality Care urged stakeholders to reach out to Congress by calling the Washington, D.C., switchboard (202-224-3121) and to send letters to members of Congress to express concern over continuing Medicare funding cuts for DME.
Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.