Moving the HME Industry Forward

Legislative/Advocacy

HME Providers Will Play Important Role in Helping People to Share Their Experiences

July 31, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC – AAHomecare is beginning work on a major initiative to assess and report on patient access to HME in areas served by the competitive bidding program as well as in rural and non-bid areas. The Association has engaged leading healthcare research group Dobson DaVanzo & Associates to develop a survey that will get perspectives from HME suppliers, Medicare beneficiaries, caregivers, and hospital discharge personnel on the impact of patient access to HME as a result of the competitive bidding program in bid and non-bid areas. Dobson DaVanzo will analyze survey results and develop a report on participants’ experiences.  

AAHomecare is undertaking this effort in response to regulatory policymakers and members of Congress who have indicated that information on Medicare beneficiary access to HME is critical to ongoing and future deliberations on improving the bidding program and providing a measure of relief to rural/non-bid providers. While AAHomecare and other HME stakeholders have had productive discussions with regulatory agencies and have kept Congress interested and engaged on HME policy priorities in the first half of 2017, we are convinced that a clear picture of Medicare patient access experiences will be vitally important for both regulators and legislators as they work on HME-related initiatives in the coming months.

“Capitol Hill and regulatory agency leaders need to see how the bidding program and the new reimbursement rates for rural and non-bid areas are impacting access to home medical equipment,” noted AAHomecare chairman Steve Ackerman. “A better understanding of the experience we have every day working with beneficiaries and discharge planners to secure needed equipment in a timely manner will help policymakers come up with solutions that help providers and patients alike. This independent evaluation of what is actually going on at the street level, trying to get patients home, is long overdue.”

The Association convened a kick-off meeting earlier today with Dobson DaVanzo and AAHomecare members who are helping to guide this effort. The steering committee for the survey includes Steve Ackerman, Spectrum Medical Supplies; John Gallagher, VGM Group; George Kucka, Fairmeadows Home Health Center; and Gary Sheehan, Cape Medical Supply.  We will provide more details on how HME providers can take part in this effort shortly in our regular communications and at aahomecare.org.

Providers who want to take part in the survey can also contact Ashley Plauche, AAHomecare manager of government affairs, at ashleyp@aahomecare.org. Please note: participation is also open to companies who are not currently members of AAHomecare.

Latest MedPAC Report Shows that Medicare Accounts for 16% of Total DME Spending
WASHINGTON, DC – Earlier this week, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), a federal commission that advises Congress on healthcare finance, published “JUNE 2017 A DATA BOOK Health Care Spending and the Medicare Program.” The Data Book is a 214-page document that covers a variety of healthcare data with a focus on Medicare, including: national healthcare spending, Medicare beneficiary demographics, and Medicare access and quality of care. The report shows that DME is only 1% of total Medicare spending in 2015.  

The report also showed a breakdown of how DME was paid for in 2015:
• Medicare: 16%
• Medicaid: 15%
• Other: 68% — this category includes private insurance, out-of-pocket spending, and other forms of spending.

The full report can be found here.