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NAMES ACCEPTS PRESIDENT CLINTON'S CALL FOR A LEVEL MEDICARE PLAYING FIELD FOR ALL HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS

 ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers (NAMES), the only national association representing the home medical equipment (HME) services industry exclusively, accepts President Clinton's call, as announced during his Economic Plan before Congress on Feb. 17, to help curtail rapidly escalating Medicare spending. Over the next four years, the president expects to seek at least $35 billion in savings from Medicare by limiting the annual payment updates to all health care providers. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that, without any change in current law or policy, Medicare spending will double from $129 billion in 1992 to $259 billion in 1998.
 Stated NAMES President Corrine Parver: "The HME services industry, which provides quality, cost-effective home medical equipment services to consumers in the home, where they far prefer to be when recuperating, is willing to step forward and work with the president and Congress in helping to control the rapidly escalating health care costs. All we ask is that home care and HME services are not discriminated against and any reductions in annual payment updates for HME are proportional to the outlays for those services." In past years, Medicare payment updates were frozen for the HME services industry, while annual CPI updates to physicians, hospitals and other health care providers continued, thereby creating an unfair disadvantage for the HME services industry and the millions of people it serves.
 While the HME services industry -- comprised of small, hometown businesses -- will contribute its fair share to help reduce the federal deficit and spiraling health care costs, additional Medicare Part B reimbursement cuts for HME services would be counter productive and even damaging to the Medicare beneficiaries served.
 "In FY 1990," said Parver, "there were more than $80 million in Medicare Part B HME reimbursement cuts; that, coupled with an additional $215 million in HME reimbursement cuts in FY 1991, caused considerable hardship especially for the small, rural HME service providers and their clients/patients. This industry has been unfairly focused on for Medicare reimbursement cuts, especially since it represents just 2 percent of the total Medicare Part B budget."
 In testimony in 1992 before various Congressional committees, NAMES, on behalf of the ethical HME services industry, urged Congress to mount an effective program to streamline Medicare expenditures and reduce waste through a targeted and well-thought out campaign. "Now it sounds like President Clinton has that same approach in mind," Parver said. "As well, both President Clinton and HHS Secretary Donna Shalala have publicly endorsed the concept of in-home services' as a key part of any national health care reform system. Home care, using HME services, must be an integral part of any national health reform plan," she concluded.
 NAMES, headquartered in Alexandria, is the national trade association representing a diversified membership of more than 2,100 home medical equipment (HME) suppliers with some 4,500 sites, over 100 HME manufacturers and 38 state and regional HME associations. Its mission is to promote access to quality home medical equipment services as an integral part of the nation's health care system.
 -0- 2/18/93
 /CONTACT: Steve Haracznak of The National Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers, 703-836-6263/


CO: The National Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers ST: Virginia IN: HEA SU: EXE ECO

IH -- DC055 -- 8101 02/18/93 16:42 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 18, 1993
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