Lesiglative Action Alert - Durable Medical Equipment
|Urge Congress To Stop Restrictions on Medicare Durable Medical Equipment!|
Starting October 1st, new Medicare regulations will require nurse practitioners to obtain a physician’s documentation that a face-to-face encounter with a patient has taken place within the six months prior to the order of certain durable medical equipment (DME). If allowed to go into effect, this burdensome documentation requirement will increase the cost of patient care and lead to unnecessary and unsafe delays in obtaining needed care for Medicare patients. Action must be taken before October 1st to stop enforcement of these restrictive rules and preserve patient access to the medical equipment they need!
Contact your Senators and Representatives NOW! Urge them to introduce legislation to eliminate the requirement that a physician must document that you have had a face-to-face encounter with the patient in the six months prior to ordering a DME.
What is the new physician documentation requirement for DME?
Final regulations were published November 16th, 2012 to implement a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148) that require orders for certain types of DME to be written pursuant to a physician documenting that a nurse practitioner or other qualified health professional has had a face-to-face encounter with the patient during the six-month period preceding the order. The final regulations state that certain items ordered on or after July 1, 2013 must have a physician document that the required face-to-face encounter has taken place. The subsequent guidance requires that the documentation must be a physician’s signature on the patient’s medical record.
In comments on the proposed regulations submitted on September 2nd, 2012, AANP supported the efforts of Congress and CMS to reduce the inappropriate billing for DME but pointed out that nurse practitioners have been authorized to order DME for more than 15 years. AANP warned that the requirement to obtain physician documentation would “delay care and facilitate the worsening of patient conditions while they wait for these required attestations.” AANP also objected to the list of items explaining that nurse practitioners routinely order items such as home glucose monitors, oxygen, respiratory equipment such as nebulizers, bed padding, and basic wheelchairs. (A full list can be found here.)
What Can You Do? – Take Action NOW!
This new documentation requirement will go into effect on October 1st unless Congress takes action. Contact your Members of Congress NOW and ask them to introduce legislation to eliminate the requirement that a physician must document that you have had a face-to-face encounter with the patient in the six months prior to ordering durable medical equipment from this list. Please feel free to insert a personal story: (i.e. I live in a rural area and don’t have access to a physician to document my patient encounter. / I have my own practice and don’t have a practice arrangement with a physician. / I have a patient who would be harmed by a delay in getting their DME; give examples.)