Medicare: patients have access to oxygen

Medicare officials said that reports about some elderly patients losing access to their oxygen tanks were "unfounded" and came from "misleading representations from medical equipment companies," the Associated Press reports.

The reaction came from recent reports that due to budget cuts in Medicare, service providers with patients who have received oxygen for 36 months or longer will no longer be reimbursed by the government for rental of equipment or unscheduled maintenance, the Scripps Howard News Service reports.

Medicare: patients have access to oxygen

It appears much of the confusion may come from the fact that in the next five years, two different agencies could be assisting elderly patients with oxygen tanks.

A change in federal law caps the length of time the government will pay a rental fee for oxygen concentrators at three years, the AP stated. However, the supplier is required to maintain the oxygen equipment for five years.

To add to the confusion, a letter was sent out to some elderly patients stating their oxygen equipment was going to be picked up in the next six weeks. The company told the AP they will be releasing a clarification letter soon.

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