MAMES forms rehab committee

Monday, April 25, 2011

KANSAS CITY - The Midwest Association of Medical Equipment Services (MAMES) will soon be better prepared to help its rehab provider members improve their relationships with Medicaid and other payers.

The association in March announced that it plans to create a rehab committee.

"It's really a concerted effort to educate our members and to help outside payers understand the rehab benefit," said Gerald Sloan, owner and president of Progressive Medical Equipment in Lenexa, Kan. "It'll be about a better flow of communication."

The mission of the Rehab Committee will be to monitor Medicaid and Medicare regulations, and to speak with program officials to clarify policy and, ideally, make improvements.

MAMES has seen what improved relationships with payers can do. Last year in Kansas, the association and its members were able to exempt complex rehab from a proposed 10% cut to Medicaid reimbursement for DME.

"Our conversations with them really did help," said Rose Schafhauser, executive director of MAMES. "So the committee will give us another level of opportunity to work with those folks and bring attention to issues."

These improved relationships will pave the way to expand efforts to create a separate benefit for complex rehab. While those efforts are currently focused on getting a bill introduced and passed for Medicare, the idea is to apply what's done there to Medicaid.

"We can't wait for that to happen," Sloan said. "We have to constantly educate payer sources that rehab is a different aspect of the HME industry. So the committee is part of the efforts to get a separate benefit recognized, but it's kind of pushing the issue on the other end." hme