Lincare, Praxair pass on AAH membership

Monday, March 31, 2008

ARLINGTON, Va. – AAHomecare took a “big whack” in January and waved goodbye to 5% ($150,000) of its annual revenue when Lincare and Praxair—two of the association’s largest providers—declined to renew their membership for 2008.
“They are big players in the industry, and someone ought to ask the question: Why don’t they feel they should be involved,” said Tyler Wilson, AAHomecare’s CEO. “It’s a big whack. We are straining for resources, and there are no shortages of issues.”
Officials from Lincare and Praxair did not return calls. Both companies belong to the Council for Quality Respiratory Care, which requires “significant” dues, said one industry watcher.
AAHomecare’s yearly dues run from $995 for companies with revenues under $1 million up to $93,000 for companies with revenues over $500 million. With $1.6 billion in revenue, Lincare falls into the top category.
AAHomecare’s Co-Chair Joel Mills called Lincare’s decision to leave the organization “shortsighted.” For years, federal officials have used Lincare’s sizeable profits—compared to the rest of the industry—as a key rationale for cutting reimbursement for home medical equipment, said Mills and others.
“If the biggest player in the marketplace can’t support the industry’s voice when we’ve supported them for years, I believe that is a decision that they should regret,” Mills said.
While associations serve large and small members, larger companies with their greater resources play a pivotal role in funding operations, Wilson said. Lincare and Praxair’s decision to forgo AAHomecare means the association won’t be able to work on some issues and will be less effective on others.HME