HME industry ‘cuts to the chase’in bid fight

Update: Number of original co-sponsors for draft relief legislation hits 10
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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

ATLANTA – The HME industry is leaner and meaner than ever, but it’s still in fighting shape, AAHomecare President and CEO Tom Ryan told Medtrade attendees at the Washington Update on Tuesday morning.

 “We are still in battle, still advocating,” he said.

With the industry still smarting from the resignation of Tom Price, a longtime HME champion, from his role as HHS secretary, and, more recently, Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, another champion, from his role as chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, Ryan didn’t mince words.

“Let’s cut to the chase,” he said. “It was a great ride while it lasted. Does Price being out make our jobs more difficult? Yes. We are disappointed, but we are moving ahead.”

Moving ahead means building grassroots support for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., who is trying to get as many original co-sponsors as possible for draft legislation to provide relief from the competitive bidding program in non-bid areas, says Jay Witter, senior vice president of public policy.

“I believe we are now up to 10 original co-sponsors,” he said of the bill, which is expected to drop the first week of November. “Tell your members off Congress we are still working with the administration, but Congress needs to step up.”

While keeping an eye on the bid program, AAHomecare has formed workgroups for a whole host of other issues, including developing standards for patient choice for incontinence supplies, says Laura Williard, vice president of payer relations.

“We are seeing more states go to a single source,” she said. “In states where that is coming up, it’s a problem.”

AAHomecare has also made a change to its HME Audit Key. Starting in 2018, providers only need to input data every six months rather than quarterly, says Kim Brummett, vice president of regulatory affairs.

“We hope that makes it easier,” she said. “The reports we get from the Audit Key are very compelling, but we simply don’t have enough suppliers.