Moving the HME Industry Forward

Legislative/Advocacy

A Strong Message Needs More Messengers

May 25, 2015

SANDWICH, MA – As I head home after a long day of meetings at the 2015 AAHomecare Washington Legislative Conference, the first thing that comes to mind is the timeliness of this year’s event.

On the morning we headed to Capitol Hill, the 21st Century Medical Cures Act was released, and one of the “pay-fors” was applying Medicare Competitive Bidding rates nationally via a reduction to Medicaid reimbursement—at a cost of $2.8 Billion. The irony was not lost on the offices we met with; Congress passed a law, HR 284, that effectively condemned the current system used to establish rates, and here they were trying to use the results of that system to further apply the outcome? Interesting, to say the least.

I had seven separate meetings—two on the Senate side and five on the House side. Most of the folks I had the pleasure of meeting with were engaged on the issues and concerned about the way the Medicare program was dealing with our industry. They were familiar with issues relating to audits, and most had heard from leaders across healthcare about these issues.

Discussions focused on applying bid rates to rural areas, applying bid rates to Medicaid, audit rationalization, and reintroducing clinical inference to the audit process. AAHomecare prepared us well to deal with the issues, and I believe the industry hit the Hill with a unified message and a clear voice.

Attendance was not what it should be. I always consider attending and building relationships with Congressional members and their staffs to be an investment in my business. I can’t reasonably complain about Medicare policies to my team if I am not willing to go and meet with the folks charged with crafting those policies.

I hope to see many more of you in DC in the future. If you didn’t go, but know someone who did, thank him or her. They weren’t there advocating for their business; they were advocating for our industry, and we all benefit from that.

Gary Sheehan, MBA, is president and CEO of Cape Medical Supply Inc, Sandwich, Mass.