Moving the HME Industry Forward

Legislative/Advocacy

Captured Opinions from Medtrade Spring and the VGM Survey

March 17, 2014

WATERLOO, IOWA – Medtrade and Medtrade Spring (which took place last week in Las Vegas) are great places to trade knowledge and opinions. Plenty of both were shared during Medtrade Spring, and on the vgm.com/survey site.

The cost of delivering medical equipment to diverse areas of our country is impacted by a multitude of issues, according to the feedback received by the survey we issued in response to the CMS call for public comment. Initial reviews of the more than 600 surveys show some predictable results and other, more obscure information.

We were aware that the cost of fuel and staff time to deliver in vast rural areas and high-cost urban areas hinders providers’ ability to sustain consistent, high-quality services to Medicare beneficiaries under reimbursement levels set by competitive bidding. However, most people have not considered the additional costs incurred when relying on ferry service to reach islands and all-terrain vehicles to service tribal lands. These mentions in the survey submissions are helping to paint a better picture of the day-to-day challenges of doing business.

We’re pleased with the response we’re receiving from providers who have such diverse experiences to report from around the country. This is a grassroots effort to help tell our story at a very vital time as CMS seeks to expand competitive bidding nationwide. The six-question survey reflects the questions posed by CMS during their public comment session that accompanied the announcement of the expansion of competitive bidding. We wanted to make it easy for you to participate in this feedback process.

This effort is likely to be the biggest response CMS has received during a public comment session for DME providers. We’re unsure how they will use the information, but are certain the data we’re collecting will be vital in our conversations with congressional members from here on out. We’re thankful to Medtrade Spring staff for helping to spread the word during the event.

A complete synopsis of survey results will be compiled over the next two weeks and available for review soon. The survey is found at www.vgm.com/survey until Friday, March 21, when all submissions will be analyzed and then sent by courier to the CMS office in Washington, D.C.

Thank you for conversations at Medtrade Spring; for attending our presentations, visiting the VGM booth, and joining in fun times together. I look forward to Medtrade in Atlanta, scheduled for Oct 20-23, 2014.

John Gallagher is vice president, Government Relations, VGM & Associates, Waterloo, Iowa.