Manufacturers find their voice

Friday, November 22, 2013

A recently formalized Manufacturers Work Group at AAHomecare gives the industry “two bites at the apple,” says Chairman David McCausland.

“There have been situations that have arisen where a manufacturer might look at a change differently than a provider would,” said McCausland, senior vice president of government affairs and planning at The Roho Group. “If there’s an opportunity to respond twice, while still making sure there are common themes, all the better.”

AAHomecare announced that it would formalize the work group in October. Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of government relations for Invacare, will serve as vice chairwoman.

Until now, the group has met only when the need arose, such as in 2011 and 2012, when the industry was fighting to get HME exempted from a 2.3% medical device tax that was included in the Affordable Care Act.

“AAHomecare culled the membership and we were able to get, not 100%, but the large majority of HME exempted from the tax,” McCausland said.

An issue that the group has rallied around in 2013: a rule finalized in September that most medical devices include a unique device identification. It supported the rule, but cautioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration not to make it too burdensome.

“These types of issues are going to continue to crop up,” McCausland said.

Going forward, the work group will meet regularly to push the industry’s agenda that HME is not a commodity, McCausland says.

“I hope more manufacturers will want to join us,” he said. “There’s strength in numbers.”