Association forms PAC

Sunday, September 30, 2007

HOUSTON, Texas - The new political action committee (PAC) for the American Association of Breast Care Professionals (AABCP) made its first foray into the political arena in August, supporting a bill mandating 48- to 72-hour hospital stays for women after a mastectomy.
"We felt it was a good way to introduce what we do and show we support the (breast care) industry," said Rhonda Turner, executive director of AABCP.
The PAC's main focus, however, is issues concerning breast care fitters, including reimbursement, accreditation and certification.
With many managed care companies reducing reimbursement for breast forms, bras and post-mastectomy services, Turner said, the PAC will use a twofold approach to make sure such benefits are maintained, and at a rate that allows women's health professionals to continue providing services.
"We approach the (insurance) companies and educate them on the fact that cheaper is not always better," she said. "We want to raise awareness within the companies. If that doesn't work, then we'll go to the lawmakers."
While lawmakers typically support breast cancer issues, when it comes to paying for related benefits, they prefer to leave it up to insurance companies, forcing groups such as Turner's to push for unpopular insurance mandates.
Requiring insurance companies to pay for certain items through mandates usually leads to the payers passing on costs to small businesses.
"Small businesses make up a large constituency for politicians," said Turner. "Of course, politicians aren't going to want to (go that route)."
Because breast cancer is such a high profile cause, Turner believes the PAC's message will be well received--despite some confusion between breast cancer issues, like research, and topics of concern to post-mastectomy providers.
"We are in the position where we need to clarify this," said Tuner. "We want to cure cancer, but we want to maintain the benefits for women post-surgery."