The U.S. COPD Coalition (USCC) has joined with a dozen other advocacy groups in sending a letter to Congress expressing our concern about CMS’s decision to include home-based mechanical ventilators in the competitive bidding process. The letter to Representatives Morgan Griffith and Peter Welch, who both serve on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, thanks the Congressmen for their leadership in addressing this issue but urges more to be done.
“As you are aware, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has decided to move forward with including noninvasive ventilators (NIVs) in the upcoming round of competitive bidding despite the letter that the two of you and 178 of your colleagues sent urging the agency to reconsider these plans. Given the significant concerns regarding the implications of competitive bidding NIV, compounded by the defects in existing Medicare coverage policies for these therapies, we respectfully ask you to consider introducing legislation to resolve these issues.”
Mechanical ventilators, including non-invasive ventilators (NIVs) are complex life-support machines that require close monitoring by skilled medical professionals. By including these ventilators in the competitive bidding process, CMS has relegated them to the same category of routine medical equipment like crutches, walkers, and wheelchairs. Allowing this process to move forward will have devastating effects on patients. The letter to Reps. Griffith and Welch makes clear the concerns of our Coalition. “Due to the way that NIVs and related services are reimbursed under a global monthly payment, we have grave concerns that competitive bidding will discourage the supply of appropriate ancillary clinical support and may actually make it economically unfeasible to furnish this care in many communities across the country. This would ultimately lead to more patients with respiratory failure being unable to remain in their homes, more emergency visits and hospitalizations, and overall worse health outcomes.”
USCC and our partner organizations will continue to monitor this important patient safety issue. Read the full letter and see the list of organizations who signed on to the letter by clicking the link below: