Survey results show impact of COVID-19 on HME

Thursday, May 14, 2020

WASHINGTON – Almost all HME providers are experiencing issues accessing personal protective equipment, according to a recent survey from AAHomecare.

In addition to problems obtaining PPE (97%), survey respondents report significant delays in getting equipment used to treat COVID-19 patients, including hospital beds (59%), CPAP/RADs (53%) and nebulizers (49%).

The survey results show how changes in operational and product costs present significant challenges for an industry already dealing with unsustainable reimbursement rates from Medicare and other payer segments. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic is creating major operational, safety, and supply chain challenges for home medical equipment suppliers,” said Tom Ryan, AAHomecare president & CEO. “These survey findings drive home the point that the HME sector is subject to a new operating environment and cost structure as a result of this pandemic, and some of the safety requirements and new business practices we are seeing are likely to be with us even after the crisis fades.”

Providers also report increased costs for PPE (85%), oxygen equipment (67%), ventilators (48%), hospital beds (47%) and complex rehab technology (19%).

Other costs include communication efforts (78%), shipping (74%), limited personnel (74%) and remote staff (65%).

AAHomecare will use the survey findings in its efforts to urge policymakers to delay Round 2021 of the competitive bidding program.