05.08.15

Burr, Bennet Bill to Help Seniors Access Innovative Medical Technologies

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced the Patient Access to Disposable Medical Technology Act of 2015, a bill that would fix current federal policy that keeps Medicare patients from receiving the most-cutting-edge medical technologies. 

“Seniors shouldn’t have to live with bulky, outdated medical technologies when there are better, modern options available to them,” said Burr. “This relatively simple bill will help seniors get new technologies that will enable them to heal faster and better meet their needs so that they can enjoy a better quality of life.” 

“Medical innovation has helped make life easier for a lot of Colorado seniors,” Bennet said. “Unfortunately, Medicare hasn’t kept pace to ensure beneficiaries have access to innovative, disposable technologies that are easy to use and often less expensive. This bill makes a simple update to the Medicare program to ensure both disposable and durable technologies are covered.”

Medicare’s durable medical equipment (DME) benefit provides seniors with access to certain medical technologies. Unfortunately, the definition of DME is decades old and does not provide the flexibility needed to address recent medical innovations that can be easier to use and less expensive. Since these new products are “disposable,” they cannot be considered “durable” under the current Medicare statute, and are therefore not covered. As a result of this outdated language, in some cases Medicare patients are denied the product best suited to their needs. 

The Patient Access to Disposable Medical Technology Act of 2015 modernizes Medicare DME policy by requiring Medicare to cover DME that otherwise would not be covered. It provides a clear path for access to DME technologies and encourages continued and future innovation of DME products on behalf of patients. Innovation in health care technologies, such as disposable technologies, will help to advance cost-effective, easy to use products, which will improve the health of patients served by the Medicare program.

Read more about the Patient Access to Disposable Medical Technology Act of 2015, here.

This legislation is supported by the Paralyzed Veterans of America.