WASHINGTON, DC – While providers made their cases during hundreds of meetings on Capitol Hill, an audit champion emerged during AAHomecare’s Legislative Conference.
Kicking off last week’s annual conference with a jolt of energy, AAHomecare and North Carolina Association for Medical Equipment Services (NCAMES) applauded Rep Renee Ellmers (R-NC) for putting patients first through her plans to sponsor legislation to fix the broken Medicare audit system.
“Congresswoman Ellmers [pictured] has recognized an intensifying problem in the homecare industry,” said Robert Steedley, president, Barnes Healthcare Services and chairman of the AAHomecare Board of Directors. “We look forward to working with her to move this legislation forward.”
“After many years of explaining our issues and talking about what we do, the staff and legislators are now more aware,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare. “They are prepped and they know that there are real issues with national competitive bidding and audits…Staff and members recognized and understood our issues and the impacts, and had real honest conversations with providers about their concerns.”
Seasoned advocates and providers alike remarked on the high level of receptivity, with the majority of lawmakers seeming to finally understand industry concerns. John Gallagher, vice president, Government Relations, VGM & Associates, completed 14 meetings during the conference.
“Not one member or staff is buying the CMS mantra of ‘there are no problems,’” said Gallagher. “All agree that something has to be done about audits, and all agree that the system of using and rewarding bounty hunters as audit contractors is the culprit and needs to be changed. All were receptive to the need of having a common sense fixe to competitive bidding by requiring brick and mortar physical location within a 50-mile radius of CBAs, and the need to stop implementation of nationwide competitive bidding in 2016 without a review of the flaws in the current program.”
“Every office was aware of our issues, especially those involving audits,” added Mike Hamilton, executive director, Alabama Durable Medical Equipment Association. “I think there was more optimism, and if not, there certainly should be, because AAHomecare is working better than it ever has on several levels. Follow-up should include lots of visits when legislators are in the districts.”
AAHomecare to Develop Audit Tracking System
WASHINGTON, DC – AAHomecare announced last week at its Washington Legislative Conference that it will be moving forward with its proposal to build and launch a system to track the Medicare audits hurting homecare providers.
“Good data informs good decisions,” said Tom Ryan (pictured), president and CEO of AAHomecare. “We’re ready to work on behalf of the industry to collect and quantify the impacts of audits and present compelling facts that policymakers cannot ignore.”
AAHomecare worked closely with the American Hospital Association (AHA) on their RACTRAC survey tool and has met with Provider Consulting Solutions, the company that developed that program. Using lessons learned from that process, the AAHomecare audit tracking system will collect hard facts that will demonstrate the impact of audits on the industry.
“Anecdotal stories and self-reported data are not credible and not persuasive with policymakers,” said Kim Brummett, AAHomecare vice president of regulatory affairs. “The new audit tracking system will help the industry track a more complete picture of audit activity and its impact.”