WASHINGTON, DC – Recently, I was asked by a member why he should come to this year’s legislative conference if the sustainable growth rate bill, also known as SGR and “doc fix,” passed without including fixes for the Medicare bidding program. It’s a great question and, thankfully, it has a simple answer: bidding isn’t the only obstacle we face.
AAHomecare remains focused on finding an appropriate bill that will accept our urgently needed fixes and get as many as cosponsors signed on to H.R. 1717 as possible. However, we’re also putting a lot of resources into legislation that addresses complex rehab and audits. Since early last year, the Association has been working with a number of other groups, like the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology, to introduce and get cosponsors for a bill that will create a separate benefit category in Medicare for complex rehab. The bill is active in both the House (HR 942) and Senate (S 948).
On the audit front, we are in the process of drafting legislation that will overhaul Medicare’s audit system, install protections for providers, and target actual fraud. We’re currently working with congressional staff on the text, and hope to have the bill introduced this spring. In addition to pushing these pieces of legislation, it’s always important to make sure that your members of Congress are well educated on your needs as a constituent.
After all, their job is to represent you, but they can’t do that effectively unless they understand the issues that are important to you. And the very best way to get their attention is to sit in their office and talk to them. If you’ve never been to a Washington Legislative Conference before, don’t worry—we’ll make it easy for you to lobby effectively. If you’re an old pro at congressional meetings—welcome back. We appreciate your continued dedication!
Tom Ryan is president and CEO of the American Association for Homecare.