CQRC ties COPD awareness with bid relief

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Wednesday, November 11, 2020

WASHINGTON – The Council for Quality Respiratory Care recognizes November as National COPD Awareness Month by commending CMS for its plans not to award competitive bidding contracts to 13 product categories, including oxygen supplies and equipment, in 2021. 

If finalized, the proposal would ensure that patients will be able to continue accessing oxygen supplies and equipment amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the CQRC says. 

“We applaud CMS for properly addressing policies that could have threatened patient access to home respiratory care,” said Crispin Teufel, chairman of the CQRC. “By excluding home respiratory care product categories in Round 2021 and extending the 50/50 blended rate (in rural areas), we are optimistic that COPD patients – and other seriously ill respiratory patients – can continue to receive uninterrupted access to care during this unprecedented pandemic and beyond.” 

CMS on Oct. 27 announced single payment amounts and began the contracting process for off-the-shelf knee and back braces, but not for the 13 other product categories. The agency also published a proposed rule that says it is considering extending the current fee schedule adjustments for non-bid and bid areas until new singe payment amounts are calculated when the bid program resumes.