Letter: The death of an industry

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 9, 2016


Why would the government destroy an industry that is absolutely essential to the quality of life of American seniors and those with physical handicaps?

Why would you close down an industry that represents only 1.25 percent of the Medicare budget? Why would you destroy the essential element in Medicare’s overall healthcare objective: reduce spending by getting the patient out of the hospital as soon as possible and send them home to recover.

If there is not a company to provide the hospital bed, wheelchair, supplemental oxygen, etc. — how will this be possible?

Congress’ move to reduce the amount paid for items in the home that are crucial in the recovery process on Jan. 1 this year by 21 percent and reducing the remaining amount by another 21 percent six months later will mean the end of the in-home medical equipment industry as we know it today.

Ask any business owner, “could you survive if you had a 42 percent reduction in your revenue? Could you maintain the same level of customer service? Would you have the same number of employees? Would your service area remain the same or will it become the city limits sign?”

If you are currently on Medicare or expect to be on Medicare and you think it will meet your future needs, you are going to be sadly disappointed. What will you do? You can expect to pay cash if there remains a local company still in business to provide the equipment or service your doctor wants you to have.

Medicare will reach their objective of saving money — really? They may eliminate 1.25 percent of their budget but their total expenses will soar because the hospital will be unable to send you home, as the support you need is no longer available.

Even worse is Medicare’s new rule effective late this month. Besides having to have both a prescription and a copy of the doctor’s chart notes from your visit; now the in-home medical company must obtain prior authorization for over 300 items before they can be delivered to the patient’s home.

Imagine needing oxygen, a hospital bed or a wheelchair so that you can be sent home after surgery or an accident and the in-home medical equipment company having to wait 10 days to get prior authorization from Medicare before the equipment can be delivered. No hospital would dare release a patient under these conditions.

Again, the cost to Medicare would soar.

Wake up America!! Your healthcare system and your support network is moving in a direction that is not designed to serve your needs. Only you can change this direction by calling your representative and both senators and tell them to fix it, and if they don’t, put someone in office who will.

Matt Moncus

LaGrange Healthcare and Wellness