WASHINGTON, DC – When talking to your members of Congress, do they tell you that they are not hearing from beneficiaries, or that the home care industry is scaring beneficiaries about round two?
AAHomecare has created talking points that you can use when you hear these objections. While they may not be right for all meetings or calls, they are important messages that need saying. The following are two common objections with possible rebuttals.
Objection #1: Congressional offices claim they don’t hear from patients.
Rebuttal: Beneficiaries are struggling to deal with the fallout from the bidding program. They call Medicare, providers, and others who can help them get their products and services, but are often left without their necessary equipment. Calling legislators is not the obvious choice for someone trying to get oxygen, enteral nutrition, or other DME.
The patient hotline report from People for Quality Care lists more than 1,400 beneficiaries who are having problems. I urge you to contact People for Quality Care so that you can hear from patients directly. Just because patients aren’t calling their legislators does not indicate that there are no problems.
Objection #2: Congressional offices claim that the HME industry is scaring Medicare beneficiaries about round two.
Rebuttal: The 1-800-Medicare hotline is not helping beneficiaries who are having problems accessing DME. Reports indicate that beneficiaries wait 30 to 60 minutes before they can talk with an operator. When beneficiaries tell CMS about problems, the agency just provides them with a list of contract winners.
There is no follow up to make sure the problem was resolved. People for Quality Care (PFQC) has a hotline (1-800-404-8702) to document problems with round two. Medicare beneficiaries call the number when they experience problems. PFQC operators document the problems and record the calls. Once the stories are documented, PFQC tries to help beneficiaries with their problems and then transfers the beneficiaries to the Congressional Switchboard.
PFQC also provides Congress with regular reports on the hotline’s activity. To date, PFQC has documented more than 1,400 complaints from beneficiaries regarding Round 2 problems. During the same time, CMS claims to have documented only 33 complaints.
If you have questions about the August recess campaign to build support for H.R. 1717, and how you can be a part of it, go to the AAHomecare website or contact us:
• Jay Witter, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-372-0751
• Wayne Stanfield, email@example.com, 202-372-0757
• Rob Brant, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-372-0748
• Peter Rankin, email@example.com, 202-372-0755
Good luck with your calls, meetings, media outreach, and other August recess campaign activities!
Jay Witter is vice president of Government Affairs for the American Association for Homecare, Washington, DC.