ATLANTA (October 25, 2017)—AAHomecare president Tom Ryan challenged the HME community to keep up their efforts to advocate for industry policy priorities in his remarks at a lively Washington Update kicking off Medtrade’s program on Tuesday.
“We are stronger together,” remarked Ryan. “We need the HME community to continue to engage their representatives on Capitol Hill and we also need to recruit more advocates to join the fight if we are to succeed on issues like competitive bidding reform and getting long-term relief for rural suppliers.”
Ryan highlighted AAHomecare’s extensive work building relationships with new leadership at HHS and CMS over the last year that helped pave the way for an Interim Final Rule from CMS that would appear to provide longer-term relief in rural/non-bid area rates. These efforts were greatly aided by results from AAHomecare’s Patient Access Survey showing significant negative impacts stemming from the competitive bidding program or bidding-derived pricing on both patients and hospital discharge planners/case managers. Ryan noted that AAHomecare was at one point sharing ongoing survey results on a weekly basis with Administration officials who requested frequent updates.
Ryan also addressed the losses of stalwart HME advocates from the government, including former HHS Secretary Tom Price as well as Ways & Means Health Subcommittee Chair Pat Tiberi, who has signaled his intention to leave Congress before his term ends. While he admitted these departures are significant, Ryan emphasized the gains AAHomecare has made in building relationships with influential appointees who remain in place and stressed the strong capabilities of outside counsel and lobbying support recently brought on board by the Association.
Jay Witter, AAHomecare’s senior vice president for public policy provided details on legislative efforts to pass rural relief legislation in the event that the previously noted Interim Final Rule isn’t cleared by the Office of Management & Budget. He particularly asked attendees to help build support for the forthcoming legislation being spearheaded by Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash) and Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa).
Kim Brummett, AAHomecare’s vice president of regulatory affairs, outlined AAHomecare’s activities in the regulatory arena and highlighted successes including CMS’s removal of the requirement for a date stamp on WOPDs for ACA items. She also provided insight on Association regulatory priorities including monitoring and responding to developments for the 2019 bidding round and advocating for long-term reforms to the bidding program.
Laura Williard, AAHomecare’s vice president talked about the Association’s growing efforts to build better relationships with Medicare Advantage plans, Medicaid contractors, and other significant payers. Williard also noted AAHomecare’s role in securing CURES-related reimbursements from TRICARE contractors, continued efforts provide states with flexibility to maintain sustainable Medicaid rates, and efforts to explore “outside the box” reimbursement approaches such as value-based care for COPD patients.
The Washington Update also featured the presentation of the 2017 HME Woman of the Year award, sponsored by VGM to Barbara Smith, CEO of Healthline Medical Equipment.
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