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Montana's Home Oxygen Therapy Community Facing $13 Million in Cuts to Medicare Benefit for Seniors

Friday, November 30, 2007 General News J E 4
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Home Oxygen Providers Urge Federal Lawmakers to Protect Essential Medicare Benefit for Seniors



Nearly a Half Million American Seniors Could be Impacted



WHAT: With Congress returning to Washington next week following the Thanksgiving recess, national and Montana based home oxygen therapy providers are calling on federal lawmakers to protect Medicare funding for home oxygen therapy and reject any further reductions to this benefit. The home oxygen community is asking Congress to reject any legislation, previously passed by the U.S. House of Representatives that caps Medicare funding at 18-months for home oxygen therapy, a benefit on which more than one million Americans nationwide rely. Nationally, nearly half of the more than 1 million seniors who rely on this benefit will be affected by these cuts, which amount to nearly $2 billion over five years.



In recent years, Congress has made sweeping changes to the home oxygen benefit as part of both the Medicare Modernization Act and the Deficit Reduction Act, changes that take effect in 2008 and 2009 and that will cut Medicare home oxygen funding by 19 percent. Home oxygen therapy providers are deeply concerned that further Medicare cuts at this time would deal a destabilizing blow to the home oxygen therapy benefit and the Medicare beneficiaries who are dependent upon it for their care.



An estimated 10,700 Montana seniors are Medicare beneficiaries using the home oxygen benefit, according to 2005 statistics. Approximately 3,500 Montanans will be directly impacted by the 18-month rental cap.



Home oxygen therapy providers are urging lawmakers to stand up for their most vulnerable constituents by calling on their leaders in Congress to oppose provisions that reduce funding of this essential benefit.



WHO:



Michael Reinemer, Vice President, Communications and Policy, American Association for Homecare will speak to the challenges faced by home oxygen therapy providers across the nation forced to absorb massive Medicare cuts.



Mike Calcaterra, President of Big Sky Association of Home Medical Equipment Suppliers will speak about the impact of Medicare cuts on small, rural providers as well as the cost benefits of home oxygen therapy for patients and taxpayers.



Bob Sherman of Valley Medical Supply in Stevensville, MT will speak about the direct impact these cuts will have on the patients he serves as well as home oxygen patients and Medicare beneficiaries across Montana.



WHEN: Thursday, November 29, 2007 - 1:00 PM MST/3:00 PM EST

** To participate in the teleconference, please dial (866) 261-3182 and ask for Medicare Cuts to Home Oxygen Therapy ** To RSVP, please contact Rebecca Reid at 1-410-212-3843 or email reidconsulting@comcast.net.



CONTACT: Rebecca Reid, +1-410-212-3843, reidconsulting@comcast.net, for the Council on Respiratory Care



SOURCE Council for Quality Respiratory Care
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