Grow your competitive advantage by supporting our industry
by Tom Ryan
March 20, 2015

Do you want to become a better-informed, more efficient and increasingly successful HME supplier? Do you want to learn about new trends and regulatory requirements affecting your profession? Would you like to make new contacts and network with your peers? Do you want to fight for fair treatment for HME providers and patients? Of course you do. But, if running your business and living the rest of your life already consumes 25 hours a day, getting involved with your profession at a higher level might seem challenging. Fortunately, there are several effective avenues to become better informed without a great expenditure of your valuable time.

1. Make Medtrade a Must

Bidding, audits, regulations and anything else CMS can dream up: if these changes are keeping you up at night, you're not alone. If only there was an opportunity to tap into the collective expertise of some of the top minds in HME through first-rate educational seminars and networking opportunities. Put Medtrade Spring in Las Vegas on your schedule, or make plans for the fall session in Atlanta Oct. 27-29. You will find a year's worth of fresh ideas and expert guidance while spending less than a week away from the office.

2. Write or Call Your Representatives

Do you know how long it takes to send an email to your congressional representatives? At AAHomecare's Action Center (action.aahomecare.org), in a process that will take you somewhere between three and five minutes, you can join the 11,000-plus individuals who have sent more than 37,000 emails to Capitol Hill on pressing legislative issues. There is also a congressional directory with phone numbers and official websites if you want to follow up.

3. Meet Your Congressional Reps

The most effective way to make a lasting impression on your representatives in Congress is to sit down and tell them about how HME regulations are affecting your business and the people you serve: their constituents. AAHomecare's Washington Legislative Conference, May 20-21, will provide information and guidance for effective meetings with your legislators, and we'll also set up appointments with members of Congress or their staffs. Find details at aahomecare.org.

4. Join Your State/Regional Association

The home care community is fortunate to be supported by a network of highly effective state and regional associations from Maine to Hawaii. These groups provide excellent networking and educational opportunities, help protect your interests at both the state and federal levels, and offer you an avenue to become more involved as a leader in your profession. My path to becoming a board member, chairman and then president of AAHomecare started by joining my state group in New York; most of the best-known leaders in the HME sector would tell you a similar story.

5. Join Us at AAHomecare

The American Association for Homecare is defending your interests on Capitol Hill and at CMS, working to bring about a less burdensome audit regime, modify the bidding program to produce a functional and transparent pricing system, and narrow the gulf of requirements and procedures that stands between suppliers and patients. Your membership in the Association is an investment in making these things happen and creating better business environment for the HME sector. What's more, you'll receive discounts on educational programming, regular updates on ever-changing regulatory developments and requirements, as well as access to experts in navigating these edicts. You can also participate in our specialized councils and workgroups that help develop policy and best practices in the HME sector. I hope you'll make a commitment to your professional development and the future of the HME sector by becoming involved in at least one of these areas. If you're already participating in some of these, add one more item to your list this year.