AAH on bid relief: ‘We’re not going away’

Stakeholders push bill in Congress, press CMS on IFR, and go on offense with MedPAC
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Friday, March 30, 2018

LAS VEGAS – After a brief timeout for Medtrade Spring in Las Vegas last week, AAHomecare officials are back at it in Washington, D.C.

“We’ll be lobbying again on the Hill with our champions,” President and CEO Tom Ryan told attendees at the Washington Update at Medtrade Spring on Wednesday. “We are also getting a meeting on the docket in the next week or so with (Health and Human Services) Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan. We’re not going away.”

Ryan acknowledged the sting of not getting language from H.R. 4229 included in a recent omnibus bill, but he says the industry needs to keep building on recent grassroots efforts for the bill, which currently has 138 co-sponsors.

Ryan said the industry also needs to keep pressuring CMS to enact an interim final rule that has been stuck at the Office of Management and Budget since August. Its efforts got a boost when Congress did include in its omnibus bill a statement “encouraging” CMS to “promulgate” the IFR.

“It’s been a challenge—it’s not just a rural issue, it’s a national issue,” he said.

Beyond immediate relief, AAHomecare continues to work with CMS on long-term fixes to competitive bidding, including pressuring the agency to use historical claims data to determine supplier capacity; increase the transparency of the program; and remove its authority to bundle payments for CPAP and standard power wheelchairs.

AAHomecare also plans to more closely monitor the Medicare Payment and Advisory Committee, after being caught off-guard by a recent report that recommended CMS expand the bid program to include more product categories such as off-the-shelf orthotics and urological supplies. The association has created a workgroup to develop white papers and make recommendations to MedPAC ahead of its next report, expected in June.

“We needed to go on the offense,” said Kim Brummett, vice president of payer relations. “We’re included in the June report; it probably won’t be any better for us.”