AAH members lobby for cuts, neb-meds

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

WASHINGTON - AAHome-care members walked the halls of Congress June 8, asking legislators to sponsor the Hobson-Ford legislation that would repeal the FEHPB cuts and to write letters to CMS in support of the industry’s position on respiratory medications.

AAHomecare was still tallying feedback from members at press time, but overall the association’s staff said the visits were positive.

“I’ve just been hearing in general that there was interest in sponsoring the legislation and that we need to do some follow-up with their offices,” said Asela Cuer-vo, senior vice president of government relations at AAHomecare.

Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., agreed to co-sponsor the Hobson-Ford bill, H.R. 4491. “I can’t see any reason why we would n’t,” he told a group of HMEs from Illinois.

HME providers also lobbied members of Congress to write letters to CMS like the one sent by Charlie Norwood, D-Ga. Norwood’s letter spelled out the service costs associated with providing respiratory medications and asked CMS to use its discretionary authority to modify payments appropriately.

Earlier in the day, Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., one of the two founders of the newly formed COPD Caucus, told 250 attendees of AAHomecare’s annual legislative conference that her late father died at home, using “every one of the services that you provide.”

Although Lincoln voted for the Medicare drug bill (MMA), she said changes were still possible.

“Legislation in this city is not a work of art, it’s a work in progress,” she said.

The following morning, Sen. Michael Crapo, R-Idaho, also a founder of the COPD Caucus, told attendees that he was very supportive of the home care and home respiratory industries.

“He is going to be a strong advocate, and we need to bring the issues to him and work with him,” said Cuervo.