URGENT ACTION ALERT
Protect Patients' Access to DME
Time To Take Action!
Urge Congress To Stop Restrictions on Medicare Durable Medical Equipment
Starting July 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 getting Medicare patients the care they need. Action must be taken before July 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 contact CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner and ask her to (1) delay implementation of the physician documentation requirement for Medicare DME orders and (2) reconsider the types of medical equipment that would be subject to any additional documentation.
What is the new physician documentation requirement for DME?
Final regulations published November 16th, 2012 implement a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148) that requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to 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 items ordered on or after July 1st, 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, nebulizers, and bed padding.
What Can You Do? – Take Action NOW!
This new documentation requirement will go into effect in less than three weeks unless CMS formally delays its July 1st implementation. Contact your Members of Congress NOW and ask them to urge CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner to delay implementation of this requirement and reconsider the policy, particularly as it applies to medical equipment needed by Medicare patients appropriately ordered by nurse practitioners. 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.)
Please forward any response from your elected officials to Laura Searcy, contact information below.
Submitted by Laura Searcy, CAPRN Legislative Liaison and Policy Director firstname.lastname@example.org 678-886-4503