By: Thomas Ryan

To protect patient access to care, Medicare must up its reimbursement rates

Inflation has soared to the highest level in four decades. Gas is roughly 40% more expensive than it was a year ago. Groceries are up about 10%.

Yet there’s one sector of the economy where prices are growing much more slowly — health care. And ironically, that’s creating problems for patients who rely on home medical equipment like power wheelchairs, ventilators, and home oxygen equipment.

The providers they depend on for their homecare are getting walloped by rising labor, transportation, and material costs. But unlike other businesses, they can’t simply raise prices to compensate. Their prices are effectively set by Medicare. Those reimbursement rates are based on a seven-year-old formula that barely covered providers’ costs before inflation took off.

Unless Congress intervenes to raise reimbursement rates soon, many homecare providers could go under. Millions of Americans would no longer be able to get the care they need at home. At best, they’d have to move into nursing homes or other clinical facilities. At worst, some could go without care altogether.

See more in this weeks Boone County Journal