Health Care Reform Bond Requirement

The present strategy in Congress on health care reform is for the House to accept the Senate health care reform bill. The bill does not include the exemption that the pharmacies sought after from the $50,000 surety bond asked of providers of durable medical equipment (DME) to Medicare patients. The pharmacies were victorious but only in acquiring an exemption from the more expensive accreditation obligation. The previous health care reform legislation was outlined and passed in the House; it enclosed an exemption for pharmacies to both the surety bond and accreditation requirements.

At the moment, the House has it in mind to pass a second reconciliation companion bill; it will be sent to the Senate and is expected to be passed rapidly. A copy of the text and summary was acquired of the new House reconciliation companion bill and it does not include an exemption from the surety bond required of pharmacies. The reconciliation bill requires DME suppliers that are under suspicion of fraud/deception to be subject to supplementary supervision and management.

Additionally, the House voted to authorize the supposed “Slaughter Solution,” where a self-executing regulation for the reconciliation companion bill will cause the Senate health care bill to be considered passed in the House only if the reconciliation companion bill clears the House. This would steer clear of a direct vote in the House on the Senate health care reform bill and provides for a direct vote on the perhaps more agreeable amendments to the Senate bill enclosed in the reconciliation companion bill. The voting has the potential to start in the House on Saturday.

The SFAA lately asked the employees of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) whether all of the providers obliged to be bonded have attained the surety bonds; they said they would have to answer that at a later time.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MEDPAC) is an independent, nonpartisan commission shaped by Congress to study, learn and offer counsel to Congress on issues relating to Medicare. The MEDPAC personnel suggested that they had some inquiries from Congress about the surety bonds in relation to the current health care reform debate; they want to find out additional information pertaining to it. The SFAA will meet with the MEDPAC personnel on March 30th. It seems the SFAA turned enough heads in the U.S. Senate and avoided the acquirement of the bond exemption for pharmacies.