Moving the HME Industry Forward

Legislative/Advocacy

Help Needed to Make a Strong Case for Rural Relief During Short Sept Legislative Session

August 29, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC – Nineteen working days. That’s how long Congress will be in session before recessing for the stretch run of campaign season. What’s more, Mondays and Fridays are often shortened work days.

While AAHomecare legislative staff and other HME stakeholders have reported encouraging feedback from multiple meetings with staffers and members of Congress during August, it’s expected there will still be significant challenges in developing and moving legislation to roll back cuts for rural and non-bid area providers that can pass both the House and Senate by Sept. 30.

AAHomecare officials hope providers will take advantage of any chances to reach out to legislators during the remaining recess period, and get ready to make one last push to let members of Congress to let them know how these cuts are affecting business, and the ability to serve patients.

• What’s the “ask?” –  Ask for your legislators to help bring the House and Senate to an agreement on legislation to roll back the latest round of cuts for HME patients and suppliers in rural and non-bid areas to give policymakers enough time to assess the impact of the first round of cuts that took place earlier this year.

• Action still needed – Some House & Senate offices may be unaware that more action is needed, since each body did pass legislation to roll back the cuts to varying degrees.  Even if your legislators were co-sponsors or supporters of S. 2736 or H.R. 5210, please contact them again to ask that they contact leadership in their parties to make this a priority in September.

• What if you’re not in a rural/non-bid area?  Even if you’re located in a bidding area, we hope you’ll ask your legislators to support relief for rural and non-bid areas. Please be assured that AAHomecare’s recent focus on rural/non-bid area relief does not signal that the Association is through with efforts to reform and improve the current version of the bidding program.  Passing this legislation does help reinforce the argument that competitive bidding rates are unsustainable for the HME community in the long run.  It’s important that Congress realizes that there are still major problems with competitive bidding and that the reimbursement rates for rural/non-bid areas are based on this flawed program.  

AAHomecare is committed to fighting for fair and sustainable reimbursement rates for all HME providers. We hope you’ll be ready to support us as we take up this phase of the fight in September.

Need help crafting a message to Congress or finding out who handles healthcare issues for a House or Senate office?  Contact Gordon Barnes at gordonb@aahomecare.org for assistance. General Capitol Hill contact info can be found here.

AAHomecare Builds Awareness of Competitive Bidding Problems in Media
Through funds raised in part by the Stand Up for Homecare Campaign, AAHomecare has engaged DCI Group to raise the visibility of problems that the latest round of Medicare cuts has caused for beneficiaries in rural America, and to help us amplify and deliver these messages both directly to Congress and though the media.

This is a targeted public relations campaign to help move legislation forward and let legislators know this is a national problem that deserves attention. The dozens of stories we’ve received thus far have greatly aided in these efforts.  However, more stories will help us make an even stronger impression on Capitol Hill.   

Please send your stories to Tilly Gambill, tillyg@aahomecare.org. If you do not feel comfortable with a broad audience, please let Tilly know, and your story will only be shared with Congressional staff who are requesting anecdotal evidence of the challenges suppliers are facing.

Conducting a broad media campaign is a costly endeavor.  You can help underwrite these efforts by supporting the Stand Up for Homecare campaign. Whether or not you can attend the reception at Medtrade, your support will have a direct impact on the work being done in the next three weeks prior to Congress returning and the truncated Congressional session this Fall.