AAHomecare courts consumers

‘They’re our best advocates’
Friday, March 21, 2014

WASHINGTON – AAHomecare hopes its all-hands-on-deck approach to fighting competitive bidding and other “bad” Medicare policies will soon include consumers.

The association on April 1 plans to kick off a new digital consumer advocacy campaign, called “Save My Medical Supplies,” to allow it to tap into a new outlet of support.

“Many, many patients have been affected by these bad policies,” said Tom Ryan, CEO of AAHomecare. “Building awareness in the general Medicare population that their access and choices are being eliminated by these egregious policies is something we’re building into our communication efforts. They are our best advocates.”

AAHomecare will use email, social media and a new consumer website to direct consumers to a web-based tool that allows them to show their support through emails or snail mail to lawmakers.

The tool will also allow the association to measure how many consumers participate in the effort and their impact on the Hill.

“That’s a message the member of Congress needs to hear, wants to hear and will, in fact, respond to,” said Ryan. “It’s raising the noise on our issues.”

To engage consumers, AAHomecare will use digital media and advertising. It will also ask providers to share contact information for their marketing reps for use in an email and phone chain to spread the word.

“We need to be using every single channel and making sure we’re on the cutting edge and taking advantage of every resource available to us,” said Beth Ludwick, senior manager, digital media and communications, at AAHomecare.

Consumers and digital media are two pieces that have been largely missing from the industry’s efforts so far, said Lisa Wells, president of Get Social Consulting, who is managing the campaign along with Anna McDevitt, president of Laboratory Marketing.

“While competitive bidding is a familiar phrase inside the industry, very few consumers have heard of it and even fewer know what it means to them individually,” she said.