AAHomecare drops out of CQRC

Sunday, December 6, 2009

ARLINGTON, Va. - When AAHomecare notified members last week that it would no longer participate in the Council for Quality Respiratory Care's meetings, it sent a strong message that it represents HME providers of all sizes.

Numerous industry sources called AAHomecare's decision "a smart move." The association has gotten flack this year for working closely with the CQRC, whose members are mostly national providers like Pacific Pulmonary Services and Lincare, on reforming the home oxygen benefit.

Here's what Michael Reinemer, vice president of communications and policy, had to say about AAHomecare's decision, including whether it will affect future reform efforts.

HME News: Is AAHomecare trying to dispel this idea that it represents the interests of large providers?

Michael Reinemer: Eighty-two percent of our members are small businesses. So it's a myth. It's never been true that our policies are driven by large providers. We'd never want anyone to swallow that Kool-Aid.

HME: What does AAHomecare's decision mean for oxygen reform?

Reinemer: I think we've demonstrated that we're willing to work very, very, very, very hard with all stakeholders. We worked very hard in 2009 toward consensus, and we made accommodations and concessions along the way. Our goal in all of this is to create an oxygen benefit that is stable in the long term so patients and providers can continue to benefit from oxygen therapy. We've tried to keep all of these stakeholders at the table. It seems at times that the words oxygen and consensus are mutually exclusive, but we do think reform is possible.

HME: So even though AAHomecare and the CQRC were the primary drivers behind much of the reform efforts so far, this decision shouldn't make much of a difference?

Reinemer: No, it shouldn't. We certainly haven't given up. We just wanted to make this statement so it's clear what we stand for and what we're trying to achieve.