WASHINGTON, DC – What a year it has been! Some days I think, “How can it already be the end of December?” And on other days, it’s more a case of, “Will this year ever end?” But despite the pace of change, or maybe because of it, I’m looking forward to what 2014 will bring.
Looking back, 2013 was a year of firsts for AAHomecare:
• the first lawsuit against the Department of Health & Human Services for their gross mismanagement of the so-called “competitive” bidding program;
• the first Senate health care bill that didn’t reduce reimbursements to HME companies to pay for someone else’s fix;
• the first Senate amendment addressing one of the many problems plaguing the bidding program;
• the first meetings with the Government Accountability Office to provide testimony about prepay audits for their report to Congress; and
• the first meetings with the Office of Inspector General to provide testimony about bidding program Round 2 for their report to Congress.
It was also a year that the Association’s regulatory experts were able to bring about a number of significant changes, including:
• an indefinite delay in enforcement of the face-to-face exam requirement;
• improvements to the power mobility prior authorization demonstration project that minimized its impact on providers;
• a minimum dollar amount requirement for surety bonds to be triggered; and
• keeping products in the inexpensive category instead of being moved to the capped rental category.
The landscape constantly changes in the home care sector, and 2014 will likely be more of the same. One thing is certain—AAHomecare will continue to fight.
Tom Ryan is president and CEO of the American Association for Homecare.