MPP back in spotlight

Friday, May 15, 2015

WASHINGTON – Provider Robert Steedley will take the mic at a hearing this week to discuss how the market pricing program is a better alternative to the current bidding system.

“We want to continue to discuss with Congress repairing what we consider to be a flawed program,” said Steedley, who will be speaking as AAHomecare’s chairman of the Board of Directors. Steedley is also president of Barnes Healthcare Services in Valdosta, Ga. “I’ll focus on some of the more problematic areas, such as the lack of binding bids and the size of the MSAs, but then focus how MPP addresses those specific needs.”

The May 19 hearing was called by Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health. The hearing, which is not HME-specific, is intended as a general exploration of competition and competitive bidding in health care.

Steedley is testifying on MPP at the behest of Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., who in the last Congress introduced a bill that would have replaced competitive bidding with MPP.

Whether the congressman plans to drop another bill is uncertain, say stakeholders.

“Price is very much (in favor) of a demo project for MPP,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare. “It’s still in the talking stages but I believe that will happen this year and will be a good indicator of whether this program could work.”

But with CMS determined to expand bid rates nationwide in 2016, is it too late for MPP, which has been back-burnered while stakeholders attended to more pressing concerns?

It’s important to keep the discussion going any way we can, says Steedley.

“We know we are not going to see one swift piece of legislation that’s going to fix everything for the industry,” he said. “All we are asking for is to make the improvements along the way and allow providers to stay in business and take care of the customers they’ve been serving for so long.”

Steedley and Ryan both expect momentum from the hearing to carry over into Hill visits later in the week as part of AAHomecare’s Washington Legislative Conference which, is slated for Wednesday and Thursday.

Ryan said about 150 attendees are expected.

“Folks on the Hill are sympathetic to our concerns, so we can’t let up,” he said.