AAHomecare readies for ‘aggressive action’

Immediate agenda includes facilitating smarter bids, removing vents from bid program
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Friday, April 19, 2019

LAS VEGAS – AAHomecare officials laid out an ambitious road map to usher the HME industry forward at the Washington Update April 16 at Medtrade Spring.

“We want to continue to shape the future,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO, who recently inked a new three-year contract to continue his role in leading the association.

That future, of course, includes competitive bidding. It’s not going away, says Ryan, so providers need to bid smart this time around.

“This is not the same bidding program,” he said. “We want to make it sustainable—we’ve got to do it right this time.”

Industry stakeholders last week officially launched dmecbpeducation.com, a website aimed at educating providers and helping them prepare bids.

With the bid window expected to open in June, stakeholders plan to pull out all the stops to remove non-invasive ventilators, a new product category for Round 2021, from the program.

Jay Witter, senior vice president of public policy, urged all providers to “stand by” for a sign-on letter supporting their efforts to drop vents from competitive bidding, and said he expects to see a related standalone bill introduced in time for AAHomecare’s Washington Legislative Conference, May 22-23.

“It’s a very aggressive strategy,” he said. “It’s not going to be easy to get this overturned, but it’s not impossible.”

Stakeholders also expect in time for the conference legislation to address bid relief for non-rural areas and the oxygen “double dip.”

On the state level, Laura Williard, vice president of payer relations, recapped several recent wins, including a recent MCO-related bill signed into law in Kentucky.

“A win in a state is a win for us all,” she said.

Williard, who has added David Chandler to her payer relations team, recently met with Centene to discuss issues with sole-source contracting and rate reductions, and has been working to address issues with Tricare and other payers.

“We’re going to fight hard,” she said.