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OIG targets oxygen payments

This article was originally published in The Gray Sheet

Executive Summary

Report from the HHS Office of Inspector General Sept. 14 recommends CMS limit the rental period for home oxygen equipment to 13 months, as outlined in the President's budget for fiscal 2007, for Medicare and beneficiary savings of $3.2 bil. over five years. CMS believes that OIG's savings estimates may be inflated, but concurs that a 36-month cap on rewards mandated by the Deficit Reduction Act, enacted in February, does not go far enough to address overpayments (1"The Gray Sheet" Jan. 2, 2006, p. 12). According to OIG, over a 36-month rental, suppliers would receive payments of $7,215 for concentrators that cost on average $587. The Council for Quality Respiratory Care, whose members include Invacare and Sunrise Medical, challenges the findings and points to a 2006 study by Morrison Informatics showing that 72% of the cost of providing home oxygen therapy involves patient care and services, not equipment. A bill (S 3814) introduced in August would ensure that CMS continue renting oxygen equipment for beneficiaries as long as they require it (2"The Gray Sheet" Aug. 14, 2006, In Brief)...

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