Legislative update: Bid fix a priority

Friday, October 3, 2014

WASHINGTON – There is a short window of opportunity for the HME industry to push its legislation when lawmakers return after the elections—but there is opportunity, say stakeholders.

“(Hill) staff are prepping for a busy month between the elections and Christmas and I expect a frenzy on Capitol Hill,” said Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Invacare. “I think we will have some great opportunities so we really need to keep working toward that.”

Those opportunities include a possible “doc fix” bill, an omnibus spending bill and a Medicare package that is in the works, she said.

With all 435 seats in the House of Representatives, as well as 36 Senate seats, up for re-election on Nov. 4, it’s the perfect time to get in front of lawmakers on competitive bidding and audits, says Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare. 

His priority? H.R. 4920, which seeks to reform the competitive bidding. It currently has 49 cosponsors.

CMS has said it plans to open the bidding window for the Round 2 recompete in the winter of 2015.

“There’s a small window to get this bid fix in,” he said. “We had 180 on H.R. 1717. This is one provision of that bill and we should be able to crosswalk all of those people over.”

Building support during the election cycle could create momentum when lawmakers return the second week in November for a lame duck session, said Ryan.

“Very often that’s an opportunity to get that member who has been on the fence—particularly if they are not re-elected—to say, “I’ll give this to you,” he said.