Moving the HME Industry Forward

Legislative/Advocacy

Send a Strong Message in Support of Rural Bidding Relief to Capitol Hill in Lame Duck Session

November 14, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC – The House and Senate will be in session for (at most) 20 days between Nov. 14 and Dec. 16. AAHomecare offiials say we need to make a big impression starting on Monday.

Now that the votes have been counted for a new president and continued Republican control of the House and Senate confirmed, Congress is set to return for a lame duck session starting on Nov. 14. With a week’s recess planned for Thanksgiving,  and a looming Dec. 9 deadline to pass legislation to raise the debt ceiling and keep the government funded, we need to make a strong impression on Capitol Hill starting next week.

Industry Message
Your messages to Capitol Hill are making a strong impression!  Please help us continue to raise the volume on rural relief legislation by reiterating these messages:  The home medical equipment industry urgently needs the House and Senate to come together to pass legislation to roll back the recent cuts for providers in regions outside competitive bidding areas to give policy makers more time to study the effects of these cuts on HME patients and to help keep companies serving rural patients from going out of business.  

The competitive bidding derived cuts that were phased in through reductions in January and July of this year cut reimbursement rates by more than 50% for many commonly used home medical equipment products and related services.  These drastic cuts are unsustainable for rural providers, many of which serve as a lifeline for small communities that don’t have a robust healthcare infrastructure.

In addition, other payers such as TRICARE and managed care organizations are basing their rates on these deep cuts, which is causing significant disruption for providers and patients under these programs.

While both the House and Senate have demonstrated their support for rolling back the cuts by passing differing versions of competitive bidding rural relief legislation this summer, the HME industry and the patients we serve desperately need both chambers to work together to pass a single piece of legislation in the coming session. Members of Congress need to share their strong support for legislation to address rural competitive bidding cuts with their colleagues and party leadership as soon as possible.

Sending the Message
The best way to make a strong impression is to call your Representative and Senators, ask to speak to someone who handles healthcare issues, let them know what these cuts mean for your business and the patients you serve, and ask for their support to address the issue in the lame duck session.  If possible, get an email address, and follow up the conversation with an email.  You can find contact information in our Congressional directory.

Special Requests for Key Legislators
Was your Member of Congress a co-sponsor of the Senate bill, S. 2736 or House bill H.R. 5210?  See if your legislators are on these co-sponsor lists. IF SO, thank them for their previous support, but make sure they know it’s critical for the House and Senate to work together to send a consensus legislative solution to the President during Lame Duck.  Ask them to work for it to be included in any omnibus or spending bills that move in the coming weeks.  

Is your House Member on the Energy & Commerce or Ways & Means Committee? Ask them to contact their respective Committee leadership and request they support Medicare competitive bidding rural relief legislation for home medical equipment. 

• For Energy & Commerce: Republicans contact Chairman Fred Upton; Democrats contact Rep. Frank Pallone.
• For Ways & Means: Republicans contact Chairman Kevin Brady; Democrats contact Rep. Sander Levin.

Share Congressional Contact Email with Your Friends and Colleagues
Ask your friends and colleagues to send an email to Capitol Hill via this link – users can easily customize the letter to share specific concerns as to how the cuts are affecting their business or patients.

Note: AAHomecare will provide an update on the makeup of the 115th Congress, including a run-down of departing legislators who have co-sponsored HME priority legislation shortly.