Moving the HME Industry Forward


Legislative Update – AAHomecare Has Discussion with Ways and Means

March 31, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – Last week, AAHomecare President Tom Ryan (pictured) and Jay Witter, the Association’s senior vice president of government affairs, met with the House Ways & Means Committee. The main topic of discussion was the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) legislation, also known as the “doc fix.”

The meeting yielded results on several points:
• The bidding program’s reimbursement rates cannot be used in the Medicaid program. At this point it appears that our argument was heard, and the proposal does not appear to be included in the draft that is circulating.
• The HME industry supports prior authorization to ensure claims will be paid. The Committee was informed that expanding prior authorization could save about $100 million dollars, and we believe it should be used to pay for other HME-related fixes.
• The bidding program must be fixed before CMS expands it. The Committee appears to still be receptive to this idea.

A permanent doc fix is becoming less likely in this congressional session, meaning that there will be a temporary patch for now (see Julie Driver’s editorial in this issue [March 31] of Medtrade Monday). The need to address SGR again in the future is another opportunity to carry language for changes to the bidding program. AAHomecare continues to talk with key committees about addressing problems.

CMS May be Sued over Face-to-Face Requirements
The National Association for Homecare (NAHC) is laying the groundwork for a possible lawsuit against CMS’ implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) home health face-to-face requirements. NAHC says that providers are frustrated with face-to-face denials and believe that more guidance and clarity on these new requirements is needed from CMS.

CRMC Redoubles Effort to Build Support for Separate Benefit
AAHomecare’s Complex Rehab and Mobility Council (CRMC) is redoubling its lobbying efforts to create a separate benefit category for complex rehab technology (CRT) within Medicare. There currently are identical bills in the House (HR 942) and Senate (S 948) to establish the benefit so that adequate access to critical CRT products and supporting services are assured. The bills distinguish CRT from standard mobility products, and make other required statutory changes such as increasing related standards and safeguards for providers.

Save the date – AAHomecare’s Washington Legislative Conference is May 6-8
WASHINGTON, DC – It’s time to exercise your right to petition the government. Before you arrive in Washington, D.C., AAHomecare will work with you to schedule the right appointments. Top experts will help you understand the details of the key issues during a day-long series of seminars at the Omni Shoreham hotel. AAHomcare will also provide tips on the best ways to establish working relationships with members of Congress, plus give you handouts to leave behind in Hill offices after your appointments. Click Here to Register for the Conference.