Look to these industry leaders

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Q. What are state associations and their members doing to help portray the industry in a positive light?

A. I hear all the time: It is not the members of state associations who are causing the issues of fraud and abuse that garner so much publicity in the media today. State association members serve as leaders. They strive to stay educated and follow and adhere to increasingly difficult and ever changing regulations, so they can continue to provide products and services that reduce overall national healthcare costs.

At the legislative level, state association members meet with Senators and Congressmen and their staffs to present workable solutions to combat fraud and abuse in the industry. They’re the ones asking for a simple and streamlined manner of reporting fraud and abuse in the industry. State association members write the letters to the editors of their local and regional news outlets to set the record straight that not everyone in this industry commits fraud and abuse.

At the regulatory level, state association members work with the National Supplier Clearinghouse (NSC), Medicare DME MAC Councils and Advisory Committees to address key issues throughout the country in a format that allows for productive problem-solving. By maintaining these ongoing working relationships, they have been able to establish a higher level of trust and credibility with each other that promotes more effective communication.

Finally, state association members know that the solution to fraud and abuse is not more complex regulations, paperwork, surety bonds and ill-conceived bidding programs. The solution lies in all of us, together with our legislators and CMS.

Rose Schafhauser is the executive director of the Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services