ATLANTA – Medtrade attendees turned out in force on day two of the nation’s premiere HME event to hear the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare) Update.
“I’ve been beat up, but I believe we can win this thing,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare. “We know it’s a great industry. Private equity is coming into this industry everyday because they love the demographics.”
Jay Witter, AAHomecare’s senior vice president for Public Policy, told attendees that the association has built strong relationships with many important players, which should help prospects for action on HR 5083, the Audit Reform and Improvement (AIR) Act, as well as for HR 4920, the bill to improve the competitive bidding program. Specifically, HR 4920 would make bids binding and make sure bidders are appropriately licensed. “We are in the best position I have ever seen,” enthused Witter. “We are clicking on all cylinders because we have fought together—but we can’t let up.”
Witter explained that the best-case scenario is enactment of HR 4920 by December so that it can influence the round two recompete process. The bill could see the light of day as “part of a package” or an “expedited process on the suspension calendar” with the help and support of key committees.
Kim Brummett, vice president of Regulatory Affairs, is leading multiple initiatives that involve building better relationships at CMS, and helping deliver positive outcomes on face-to-face regulations, and mobility and oxygen testing requirements.
On the topic of expansion of competitive bidding into non-bid areas, Brummett told attendees that she had met with CMS staff members to go over the 55 pages of comments related to the proposed expansion. “Welcome to the game,” said Brummett. “This [proposed expansion of CB] is a really scary rule.”
Finally, Ryan reminded attendees about consumer-focused initiatives such as Save My Medical Supplies (www.savemymedicalsupplies.org) and the HME Audit Key, a comprehensive effort to collect valid data as ammunition for legislative battles.
“We are facing many challenges, and we have a long way to go in a lot of areas,” said Ryan. “This association should be quadruple the size it is today. We need to be larger…But I’m an optimist, and this industry is poised for change and growth. If we continue to fight for patients, we can win this.”