WASHINGTON D.C. (February 4, 2016)—In recent years, AAHomecare has focused on strengthening our partnerships with leading patient advocacy groups whose members depend on home medical equipment. This week, AAHomecare met with leaders from some of these groups to map out plans to address their legislative priorities related to HME.

Legislation to address CMS’s recent code changes and guidelines for ventilator use is a particular concern for the ALS Association, where Ashley Plauché, manager of government affairs met with Pat Wildman, vice president of public policy and Travis Smith, public policy associate. The ALS Association has already been active in reaching out to their chapter leadership on this issue, and is currently engaged in getting ALS patients to tell their story about how they depend on ventilators, and why they need a fix to these policy changes.

AAHomecare President and CEO Tom Ryan joined Plauché in a meeting with Peter W. Thomas, who coordinates policy for the ITEM Coalition, a steering group for more than 70 healthcare and patient groups with a stake in Medicare and Medicaid policy. The Coalition recently set their 2016 legislative priorities with special emphasis on addressing ventilator issues, CMS’ plans to apply bidding-derived pricing to complex rehab accessories, and also advocating for Medicare coverage for seat elevation products. The Coalition also shares common ground with AAHomecare in advocating for fairer Medicare audit policy and workable prior authorization regulations.

Plauché also met with Alex Bennewith, vice president of government relations for United Spinal Association—strong supporters of the HME sector on the complex rehab accessories issue, ventilator policy, and prior authorization. United Spinal also plans on engaging in a closer dialogue with AAHomecare on issues related to urological supplies.

These relationships are especially important for AAHomecare and the HME community, as these groups demonstrate the real-world impacts of regulations that limit access to the products and services our industry provides, and are powerful advocates on important legislative issues. Please remember that the Stand Up for Homecare campaign provides support for HME patient/user groups like these, which ultimately leads to public policy that helps keep HME accessible and affordable for the people who need it the most!

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