H.R. 3790: Industry 'encouraged there will be some movement'

Thursday, February 18, 2010

WASHINGTON - Industry stakeholders hope that a flurry of activity, culminating with the AAHomecare Washington Legislative Conference next week, will significantly boost the number of co-sponsors for H.R. 3790, a bill that would eliminate national competitive bidding.

"There has been a lot of activity in support of the bill in the months and weeks leading up to our conference," said Michael Reinemer, vice president, communications and policy, for AAHomecare. "We hope our conference will help attract a critical mass of cosponsors for H.R. 3790 and advance other key priorities, including education of lawmakers about the value of home care."

Currently, H.R. 3790, introduced Oct. 13, 2009, by Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Fla., has 140 co-sponsors.

The Accredited Medical Equipment Providers of America (AMEPA) attracted about 70 providers and industry stakeholders to a conference and rally in California Feb. 11 to drum up co-sponsors for the bill. Only four of the state's 53 representatives are co-sponsors so far.

"Two others have committed to cosponsoring the bill (as a result of the conference and rally)," said Rob Brant, president of AMEPA and general manager of City Medical Services in North Miami Beach, Fla. "We hope to get at least 10 co-sponsors from southern California, which includes LA and the Riverside MSAs."

AMEPA, the Illinois Association for Medical Equipment Services (IAMES) and the VGM Group have scheduled a similar event in Chicago for this week. "Illinois in District Day for H.R. 3790" will include a Webinar to educate providers on the bill on Feb. 23 and visits to district offices on Feb. 25.

"There are 11 representatives in the Chicago MSA and none have co-sponsored the bill," Brant said.

Brant and others will follow up on their California and Chicago visits in Washington, D.C., during AAHomecare's conference.

Additionally, the National Association of Independent Medical Equipment Suppliers (NAIMES) declared Feb. 12 to Feb. 22 "SOS Week: Save Our Jobs--Protect Our Patients," encouraging providers to contact their representatives to co-sponsor the bill.

"We have heard from a number of people who have contacted their representatives, and we feel there will be some gains based on the feedback that we've gotten," said Wayne Stanfield, president and CEO of NAIMES. "I'm encouraged there will be some movement."