WASHINGTON, DC – Your AAHomecare team is leading the fight against the Medicare bidding program. We attended two important meetings recently, one with the staff of the Senate Finance Committee and another with the Medicare Rights Center.
Both are key to our efforts in opposing the bidding program. We want the Finance Committee to better understand the turmoil that the bidding program is creating for beneficiaries and HME providers. And the Medicare Rights Center is one of several consumer organizations that we want by our side helping to articulate the pain and suffering that beneficiaries are enduring because of the badly mismanaged program.
Clearly, both audiences were open to being sympathetic to our cause. Yet, both responded with the same concern: We aren’t hearing any noise. Where are the complaints from the hospitals, from physicians, from social workers, from patients? Where is the outrage? Where is the pain and suffering?
That is a clear message to AAHomecare and our membership. If we want change, we have to pump up the volume! We got their message loud and clear and now we are delivering it to our members.
These are examples of two entities that are open to possibly helping us. But they need the evidence, or what those in Washington call “air cover.” To support our issues, they need to be able to point to examples of why the bidding program is bad. They need the patient horror stories—the ones that demonstrate that patients are suffering a lower quality of life and that their health is being jeopardized by the program.
Our team is aggressively reaching out to promote examples of the bidding program impacting the health and quality of life for patients. But we must have your help. Providers need to be key elements of the network that reports information about patients that are being endangered.
In the short time that I’ve been in the trenches in Washington, fighting alongside you in this battle, I can assure you that AAHomecare has been in constant contact with our champions on Capitol Hill about ways to stop the so-called “competitive” bidding program.
The most important role we can play right now is turning the information about patients that you provide us into news stories, press releases, YouTube videos, Twitter tweets, Facebook posts, faxes, and emails that go directly to lawmakers.
We are going to be the vehicle that pumps up the volume and makes noise. But we can’t do it without your help. We need your eyes and ears; we need your energy; we need you relaying to us the information that we all know is out there.
Let’s make some noise. Let’s turn the tide against the bidding program.
Tom Ryan is president and CEO of the American Association for Homecare, Washington, DC.