Illinois association steps up to the plate

Saturday, March 31, 2007

ELGIN, Ill. - Providers in Illinois have a new leader with new ideas about how the state HME association should operate. Alan Kirk, co-owner of Total Home Health in Elgin, Ill., was appointed president of the Illinois Association for Medical Equipment Services (IAMES) in January. He replaces John Tripp, who has left the industry.
Kirk and the association's new board have embarked upon a strategy to become more aggressive players in industry efforts to halt reimbursement cuts. "This is a new beginning, a changing of the guard," he said.
When compared to other state associations that lobby vigorously on behalf of the industry, Kirk said, he and other IAMES board members felt like the association could do a lot more. Last year, for example, "we had a horrible showing of legislators" who signed on to support industry efforts to eliminate the 36-month cap on Medicare oxygen reimbursement. IAMES plans to kick off its new beginning with a campaign to encourage members to participate in efforts to roll-back the oxygen cap. Additionally, the association has "some insiders" working to line up high-profile attendees to its annual meeting this month, including U.S. Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Richard Durbin, D-Ill. There's also talk about organizing a DME day at the state capitol.
"If I'm going to be spending any of my time out there working as president of IAMES, I want it to be focused on legislative stuff," Kirk said. "Without that, how much fun can we have talking about new technology?"