Hard work pays off in N.C.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

RALEIGH, N.C. - When the industry stormed Capitol Hill for AAHomecare's Legislative Conference in June, North Carolina turned heads by having at least one attendee for each of its congressional districts. That strong showing is paying off.
In the weeks following the conference, two representatives from North Carolina have signed on to H.R. 1845, a bill that would soften the blow of national competitive bidding. One representative has signed on to H.R. 621, a bill that would repeal the oxygen cap.
"That's just our immediate results," said Beth Bowen, executive director of the North Carolina Association of Medical Equipment Services (NCAMES). "There are several other (representatives) interested, and we're still following up with them."
In all, NCAMES brought 24 attendees, including 11 first-timers, to the conference. This year, to encourage attendance, the association paid the way for one attendee from each of the state's 13 districts.
That push made all the difference for Carolina Apothecary in Reidsville, N.C.
"It was always too expensive," said Kimberly Lynn, the company's operations manager. "I've been with this company for 14 years, and I've seen the changes. We knew, with so many things hitting us, that it was time to get active."
With one attendee from each district paid for, providers like Feeling Great/Second Breath, a 20-employee HME company in Durham, N.C., were able to send multiple attendees to the conference.
"We heard from several staffers that they haven't received many mailings from the industry or patients," said Carlena Butler, the billing and office manager for Feeling Great/Second Breath. "So it's good that as many of us showed up us as we did. They need to now how bad things are."