Perspective on the past 12 months of service with the American Association for Homecare
by Tom Ryan

A Strong Team in Place

While I had worked closely with several members of the AAHomecare staff in my time as chairman of the association and through service on the board of directors, I didn’t have a full appreciation for the level of talent, dedication and creative thinking in this group until I began working with them on a daily basis. Everyone on staff is focused on achieving wins for HME providers and manufacturers. There is a very strong orientation toward supporting our members in any way possible and a constant desire to develop new programs and initiatives to aid the HME sector. I am excited to be leading this team and look forward to adding even more talent to it in the future.

Challenges on Capitol Hill and at CMS

Since first becoming involved at the state association level, I have recognized the importance of being politically active on behalf of HME and have worked with New York’s congressional delegation over the years. That being said, involvement at the national level and seeing what it takes to shepherd legislative initiatives through Congress has been eye opening. Of particular interest is the sizable role Senate and House committee senior staff members play in helping develop legislation and move it through Congress. These individuals have an impressive command of our issues and a finely tuned sense of what is realistically possible to achieve, and can be a valuable resource. Jay Witter, AAHomecare’s senior vice president for public policy, has built strong relationships with many of these players, which should help prospects for action on the AIR Act (H.R. 5083), new audit reform legislation, as well as H.R. 4920, the bill to improve competitive bidding. Tremendous effort also goes into keeping tabs and weighing in on the constant flow of new proposals and guidance that flows from regulatory agencies, especially the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The homecare community is lucky to have the respected expertise of Kim Brummett, our vice president of regulatory affairs, who is leading multiple major initiatives, building better relationships at CMS, and helping deliver positive outcomes on face-to-face regulations and oxygen Part A testing requirements.

Moving Forward

I don’t have to tell you what a critical period this is for the HME community. I am confident that we have an excellent team in place—terrific leaders throughout this industry, from members of the AAHomecare board of directors to state association executives to providers and manufacturers, large and small, who give of their time and talent to build a better future for HME participants—but, to put it frankly, we need more. This mission requires resources. AAHomecare has revamped membership recruitment efforts, with positive results in the past year, but we still need to make sure that every HME stakeholder is aware of the role the association plays in defending sector interests, and understands that dues are not an expense but an investment. For current members of AAHomecare, thank you for supporting the home medical equipment community and the patients we serve with your experience and enthusiasm, and for your help educating legislators and regulators about the need for better policies. We need your involvement and commitment now more than ever as we approach meaningful outcomes on competitive bidding and audits. If you are not currently a member, I encourage you to visit, to stop by and see us at Medtrade in Atlanta next month or to contact me directly.