Home health provider Lincare Holdings, Clearwater, Fla., threatened to stop providing nebulizer-dispensed respiratory drugs to Medicare patients if the CMS goes through with a proposal to cut reimbursement for certain drugs in fiscal 2005. The company said it would send a letter to patients who receive nebulizer medications for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease telling them to make other arrangements unless the CMS reverses its plans. Earlier this week, Apria Healthcare Group, Lake Forest, Calif., another national respiratory-care provider, said it would stop taking new referrals for Medicare patients if Medicare does not provide "acceptable" reimbursement. According to a CMS estimate, the planned fiscal 2005 payment schedule would cut reimbursement by as much as 89% for some doctor-administered drugs, including some drugs used in conjunction with nebulizers. Oncologists also have protested the rate cuts as unfairly reducing their revenue and threatening their practices. -- by Joe Mantone
Respiratory-care chains warn CMS over drug cuts
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