CMS ends hyperbaric oxygen treatment experiment despite savings

The CMS will not continue an experiment that saved Medicare millions of dollars by reducing the use of non-emergency hyperbaric oxygen therapy.


The treatment uses pressurized oxygen to help expedite wound healing, particularly for diabetic wound care. Since the CMS launched the experiment in 2015, its spending per beneficiary per quarter dropped by $60, according to a report released Monday by the CMS. Federal data shows the experiment saved the government $17.6 million by 2017.


Only Illinois, Michigan and New Jersey participated in the prior authorization experiment for non-emergency hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Those states were chosen because of their high utilization and improper payment rates.


The demonstration ended in February 2018, and the savings it generated didn’t harm quality of care, according to the report … read more