US COPD Coalition

USCC Joins Other Advocacy Groups in Letter to CMS


The U.S. COPD Coalition (USCC) has joined eighteen other medical professional and patient advocacy organizations in sending a joint letter to Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The letter provides comments on CMS-1691-P, the proposed rule for the Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program (CBP) for Calendar Year 2019. The letter to Administrator Verma focused “on ways to use its statutory authority to address the unique problems posed by providing liquid oxygen, while also ensuring that the needs of the overwhelming majority of beneficiaries who require supplemental oxygen are also met and improved”.

The comments in the joint letter stress the importance of patients with high-flow oxygen needs having access to liquid oxygen. The letter to Administrator Verma states, “Without access to sufficient quantities of portable liquid oxygen, patients who require a high liter flow cannot leave their homes, which jeopardizes their physical health, mental health and quality of life, and limits or prohibits their ability to continue working.” Sam Giordano, MBA, RRT, FAARC, Chair of the USCC, noted that while the ability to provide comments and recommendations to CMS about the collective concerns of the group is a great start, more will need to be done. “The comments do a good job of identifying our patients’ current challenges, especially with regard to access liquid. There are also calls for enforcement of current service policies, and recognition that there are more expensive systems when reimbursing for these systems. It is important to bear in mind that these comments represent a starting point for the community, and follow up to provide greater detail to support all of our points is anticipated”. Erika Sward, National Assistant Vice President of Advocacy for the American Lung Association also cited the need for further work in a note to the organizations that signed the letter to CMS. “We are planning additional opportunities for engagement with Congress and CMS in the coming months to underscore the urgency of this problem, at which time we will reach back out to you and invite you to join with us so that our patients’ voices are heard.”

The following organizations signed the joint letter to CMS:

  • Allergy & Asthma Network
  • Alliance for Patient Access
  • Alpha-1 Foundation
  • American Association for Respiratory Care
  • American Lung Association
  • American Sleep Apnea Association
  • American Thoracic Society
  • CHEST/American College of Chest Physicians
  • Children’s Interstitial Lung Disease (chILD) Foundation
  • COPD Foundation
  • Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research
  • Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome Network
  • LAM Foundation Lung Transplant Foundation
  • LUNGevity
  • National Association for Medical Direction of Respiratory Care
  • Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation
  • Pulmonary Hypertension Association
  • Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance
  • U.S. COPD Coalition

See the attachment below to read the letter to CMS Administrator Verma:
Patient Provider Comments to CMS re DME Oxygen 9-6-18