There are a number of governmental and insurance initiatives going on to help prevent patients with COPD from being frequently readmitted to the hospital. Some of these requirements have been imposed on hospitals by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In order to accomplish the intended result of reduced readmissions, organizations such as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services are concerned that durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers are being left out of the conversation. DME suppliers are the ones who supply oxygen, hospital beds, and other equipment to the home. It is becoming clear that trying to keep patients in their homes with the necessary resources needed is important in preventing readmissions.
Unfortunately, the documentation requirements for DME’s have become more complicated since the ACA was adopted. The excessive documentation requirements have taken the focus off patient care and placed it on the paperwork.
I can tell you from our practice standpoint that we often have difficulty getting patients the equipment and supplies that they need when dealing with DME’s. Before looking into this a bit further, I was under the impression that this was strictly a money issue. I know that reimbursement rates for many services and equipment have been progressively squeezed downward.
This article is not a political indictment of the ACA. This is a complicated matter and I do not have the information and expertise to suggest a solution, other than to say that something needs to be done to help those that need the help.