One look at Cara C. Bachenheimer's dossier leaves no room for
doubt about her dedication to the health care industry. A partner
with the Washington-based law firm Epstein, Becker & Green,
Bachenheimer specializes in home health care regulations, policies
and government relations, and is a popular speaker at industry
trade shows and conferences.
HomeCare talked to Bachenheimer about her career and her
devotion to the home medical equipment field.
HC: How did you make the decision to specialize in health
Bachenheimer: Out of all the areas I had exposure to [in
law school], I enjoyed health care law the most. My focus on HME
and home health care came about [when I] had the opportunity to be
a reporter, covering legislative and regulatory developments
affecting the home health market.
HC: Is there one special victory in health care policy that
stands out as having the greatest impact on the industry?
Bachenheimer: The victories in health care policy are
generally small, but there are probably more than lots of people
might think. Working with CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services) as they changed Medicare policy to allow fax and
electronic CMNs (certificates of medical necessity); working with
Congress to rein in some of CMS's IR (inherent reasonableness)
authority; and working with CMS to understand and realize the
benefits of allowing consumers to upgrade their equipment are just
a few examples.
HC: What motivates you to remain active the industry?
Bachenheimer: Working with HME providers, manufacturers
and others in the home health industry is incredibly dynamic. I
firmly believe that HME providers are doing the right thing: They
are providing consumers with a patient-preferred opportunity to
remain in their homes, rather than being in an institution. You
can't place a dollar value on the quality of life that providers
HC: What are some of the industry's challenges?
Bachenheimer: There are numerous challenges. Paramount is
the policymakers' lack of information about the true scope of
products and related services that HME providers offer. HME truly
provides great opportunities to reduce health care costs and
improve the lives of patients by [helping patients] remain in their
homes. We are a small industry … but we must do a better job
to amplify the positive things that we provide to consumers.
HC: Do you see any drastic or exciting changes on the horizon
in home health?
Bachenheimer: There are always drastic and exciting
things on the horizon: the future of the Medicare program, the
possibility of a Medicare prescription drug benefit, the scrutiny
of the DMERCs (durable medical equipment regional carriers) and
policymakers on providers, and the opportunities the industry could
provide to the health care industry as a whole. The development of
new technology provides new challenges and opportunities as well.
This industry has the potential for dramatic growth. We need to
work to have the government on board with us to ensure that
consumers have access to new products that help consumers and are
cost-effective for the health care industry.
A monthly columnist for HomeCare (see page 58
in this issue), Cara C. Bachenheimer is one of six recipients
of HomeCare magazine's Caring Awards, presented for
demonstrated commitment and service to the HME community.