AAHomecare is here for you

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In the October HME NewsPoll, many providers expressed multiple reasons for not belonging to AAHomecare (See story page 23). I wish I could sit down with all these providers and discuss their concerns. Of course, that's impossible. But as a provider and AAHomecare's new membership committee chair, I feel compelled to offer some response. Most importantly, I want to stress that AAHomecare is here for you, the HME provider. I know you've heard this before, but it's true: An association is only as strong as the size of its membership. In these turbulent times, this has never been more true. If you don't belong to the association, please consider joining. What's important is that you lend your voice to our efforts. Don't sit silently on the sidelines and let others control your future. Now, some responses to those providers who listed reasons for not belonging to AAHomecare...
The lowest rate is $995 per year, which is just $2.73 per day. That rate has not changed in more than 10 years. Several dollars per day is a small price to pay for an effective voice in Washington, D.C., and representation with Congress and CMS. The association also produces educational conferences to help HMEs succeed.
Eighty-two percent of the association is made up of companies under $5 million in annual revenue. AAHomecare represents the broad spectrum and interests of homecare providers. If there is a bias in the association, it is toward the needs of smaller HME companies. The mid-size and larger HMEs are often better able to supply volunteer participation on AAHomecare councils and committees, where much of the hard work is done on behalf of all homecare companies.
The association's volunteer leaders, who are drawn from its membership, have provided effective leadership for many years. Tom Ryan, current chair of the board of directors, has provided steady volunteer leadership above the call of duty while the association searched for a new president and CEO. Tyler Wilson, the new president, is now in place. AAHomecare members and staff have responded in a timely way to the many legislative and regulatory issues, including quality standards, competitive bidding, power mobility and other big issues.
Under the leadership of Karyn Estrella, executive director of NEMED, the State Leaders Council at AAHomecare is holding the association leadership's feet to the fire. AAHomecare works hand-in-hand with the state associations on common goals. The state associations play a key role in the success of federal legislative campaigns. Also, AAHomecare weighs in on state Medicaid issues when asked by a state association.
Support through membership dues is greatly appreciated, even if that is all you have time for. If you can call or e-mail your members of Congress about key issues, that's a small investment of time that can provide big results. We all are busy trying to survive and can't all actively participate, but we can support the association, the many active volunteer committee and council members, and the efforts of those who make your voice heard through the State Leaders Council. If you don't support the industry who will?
Can one person or one organization accomplish everything that needs to be done? No, it takes all of us. So please join


Carol Laumer is AAHomecare's new membership committee chair and executive director of Rice Home Medical in Willmar, Minn.