Moving the HME Industry Forward

Legislative/Advocacy

AAHomecare in Action – Building Unity in HME

February 23, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – The HME community’s interests are best served when all stakeholders are working around a unified strategy towards a shared goal and ask on Capitol Hill and at CMS.

That’s why, as the national association representing the industry, AAHomecare acts as a rallying point for a diverse set of companies, groups and interests. AAHomecare builds bridges within our sector and sets a unified legislative and regulatory strategy for the entire industry. AAHomecare has successfully brought the HME community together as one voice on MPP, competitive bidding repeal, audit reform and now the binding bids legislation.

Whether it’s on Capitol Hill, at CMS or in the states, true leaders know that the HME industry needs to be pushing a unified strategy. When you are an AAHomecare member, you have a seat at the table when industry positions and strategies are being developed. After all, if you’re not at the table, then you’re on the menu.

Alignment on HME advocacy priorities will be at the forefront of two sessions on major legislative and regulatory issues at Medtrade Spring: the AAHomecare Washington Update and new POWER PANEL on Tuesday, March 31.

AAHomecare’s team of legislative and regulatory experts will share how the Association is working with industry stakeholders and key Capitol Hill and Federal agency audiences to achieve positive results for the HME community.

The new POWER PANEL of industry experts will share how top-to-top legislative negotiations work in coordination with personal outreach and grassroots efforts from member companies. Real life examples from panel members will illustrate the progress that can be made when our strengths are aligned, why a unified strategy is a must on Capitol Hill, and will help prime individuals attending AAHomecare’s Washington Legislative Conference (May 20-21) for a successful round of Hill meetings.

Panelists will include:
Cara Bachenheimer, Senior Vice President, Government Relations, Invacare Corp
John E. Gallagher, Vice President, Government Relations, VGM Group Inc
Wayne Grau, Vice President, Legislative Affairs, Managed Health Care Associates Inc
Mark J. Higley, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, VGM Group Inc
Seth Johnson, Vice President, Government Affairs, Pride Mobility Products Corp
Robert Steedley, Jr., President, Barnes Healthcare Services and Chairman, AAHomecare Board of Directors

OIG Report Summary – New York Medicaid Payments
WASHINGTON, DC – On February 2015, Office of Inspector General (OIG) of Department of Health and Human Services  released a report titled, “The New York Medicaid Program Could Significantly Lower Payment Rates for Selected Durable Medical Equipment and Supplies.” 

This review is part of a series of reviews in various states to identify Medicaid program cost savings that could be achieved for selected DME items and supplies. In a separate audit, the OIG identified an estimated $5.9 million that the New York Medicaid program could have saved on diabetic test strips during a 1-year period if it had obtained pricing similar to the pricing that Medicare obtained through the Competitive Bidding Program. Because of the savings that they identified for diabetic test strips, they conducted this review of other competitively bid DME items.

The OIG reviewed 54 of the 70 selected DME items and found that the New York Medicaid program could have saved an estimated $8.9 million for calendar years (CYs) 2011 and 2012 by establishing a competitive bidding program similar to Medicare’s program. The OIG recommended that the State agency establish a competitive bidding program that functions similarly to Medicare’s program.

AAHomecare Participates at NCAMES Winter Meeting
WASHINGTON, DC – Last week, Tom Ryan, president and CEO, and Kim Brummett, vice president of regulatory affairs, spoke to attendees at the North Carolina Association for Medical Equipment Services (NCAMES) Winter Meeting in Raleigh, NC.

Brummett gave the regulatory update, providing details on the Regulatory & Audit Task Force such the change to the oxygen requirement for Part A testing, influencing CMS on face to face requirements, and recent meetings with CMS, OIG, and GAO. She reviewed all of the CMS proposed rules from 2014, detailed the process for submitting comments to CMS on proposed rules, and discussed competitive bidding pricing expansion and other regulatory areas of focus.

Brummett spent some time explaining the upcoming audit tracker, the HME Audit Key, which is expected to be released in April 2015 to have HME suppliers submit data. The object of the HME Audit Key is to eventually have concrete data in the form of quarterly reports that can be used with Congress, the GAO, OIG, and CMS to quantify the impact of audits on the industry.

Ryan was invited to speak at the luncheon on the second day of the conference. He gave attendees a legislative overview on big issues the industry has been pushing for, including competitive bidding, audits, prior authorization for PMD and DME, and a separate benefit for complex rehabilitation technology items. He spoke about the increase in homecare champions on Capitol Hill and the ability to broaden the portfolio of issues that AAHomecare works on, thanks to that support. Ryan encouraged attendees to continue to be part of the fight.