The Government (specifically CMS, the folks who reimburse the cost for Pulmonary Rehab) has decided, in its infinite wisdom, to reduce payments for rehab, one of the most important things available to help the health and prolong the lives of lung disease patients.
We have sent the following to CMS and to our Congressman. I will be posting it on all of the sites to which we contribute, in the hope of getting others to copy it, change it if necessary, (you might want to take our names off of the bottom), and sending it out. If you would also take the time to share it on your Facebook accounts, etc., and to anyone else that might do the same, it would help a lot!
The site for the comment form for CMS is: http://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=CMS-2016-0115...
Please copy and send the following, or your interpretation of it. If you have personal experiences to share, please do so.
RE: Medicare Program: Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Systems and Quality Reporting Programs; Organ Procurement Organization Reporting and Communication; Transplant Outcome Measures and Documentation Requirements; etc.
THE OBVIOUS EFFECTS OF THE PROPOSED REDUCTION IN
PAYMENT FOR PULMONARY REHABILITATION BY CMS:
1) COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), the most common of the lung diseases, kills an American every 4 minutes.
2) Lung disease is chronic and progressive. It is not going to go away, and it gets worse as time goes by.
3) COPD is the third leading cause of death in the U.S.
4) Roughly 15 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD. It is estimated that another 15 million Americans have the disease but have not been diagnosed because of its slow progression.
5) The estimated cost of COPD, medicines, medical care, and lost production is above 50 billion dollars per year.
6) As the disease progresses, the patient suffers more and more exacerbations, episodes of pneumonia and lung infections.
7) These exacerbations drive the patient to doctors, hospitals, and emergency rooms, greatly increasing costs to the patient, to insurance companies, and especially to Medicare.
8) It is an established fact that knowledge, medication compliance, and especially exercise serve to make the patient stronger and more able to resist the exacerbations.
9) It is also a fact that Pulmonary Rehabilitation serves to educate the patient and their caregivers about the disease, about medications, about living day-to-day with breathing difficulties, and involves supervised exercise.
10) The proposed cuts in reimbursement for Pulmonary Rehabilitation will serve to greatly increase the cost of care for lung disease patients for all concerned, but especially for Medicare.
11) In summary, because of increased exacerbations and more rapid progression of the disease, CMS will be responsible for the premature deaths of millions of Americans.
I hope that the above will serve to clarify the likely results of the proposed cuts by CMS.
Jim Nelson, COPD Patient
Mary Nelson, Caregiver
Arizona Representatives for COPD Foundation
Southern Arizona Representatives for the American Lung Association
Executive Board Members of EFFORTS, an international online support group
Inspirational Speakers for Pulmonary Horizons.
Instructors to Pulmonary Rehab patients, caregivers, and students.