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Off to the races: ‘We need to do more work in the Senate’ 

Off to the races: ‘We need to do more work in the Senate’ 

HME News in 10WASHINGTON – With a new Congress in session, AAHomecare has begun the work of relationship building as the HME industry seeks to advance reimbursement relief and other priorities. 

Despite a delay in getting the 118th Congress seated – on Jan. 7, instead of Jan. 3 – Jay Witter was able to connect with about 20 offices in early January, speaking directly with lawmakers that have either helped the industry already or could be helpful in the future, he said during a recent episode of the HME News in 10 podcast. 

“I think we are starting in a very good place, and it’s probably the best place we’ve been in years, with the number of champions we have,” said Witter, senior vice president of public policy for the association. “The industry is unified behind the issues, and our champions are in very key places.” 

Those champions include Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R.-Wash., who will serve as the chair of the Energy & Commerce Committee in the House of Representatives, and Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., the lead sponsor on H.R. 6641, who won re-election in November. 

Still, there’s more work to be done on lining up supporters, especially in the Senate, says Witter. 

“We got a lot of intel that we need to do more work in the Senate and already talked to some folks about that,” he said. “Where our grassroots and our lobbying efforts can be improved is to obtain more Democratic champions in the House and Senate.” 

Although the timeline for a next round of Medicare’s competitive bidding program is currently a big question mark, any movement forward needs to be a “two-way street,” says Tom Ryan. 

“We need to work with Congress to require CMS to accept the higher rates that resulted from the bidding process,” said Ryan, president and CEO of the association. “We didn’t see savings in the last round, pre-pandemic, so we certainly don’t think we’ll see savings in future rounds.” 

The other timeline AAHomecare is most concerned with: the end of the public health emergency, which President Joe Biden has announced will end on May 11, 2023. Stakeholders want to ensure that certain flexibilities that have been in place under the PHE, including expanding the use of home respiratory products and CGMs, remain in place, says Ryan. 

“We’ll have to make sure that things that we are concerned about, like grandfathering in oxygen and CGMs, get attention with members of Congress, so they can weigh in to CMS,” he said. 

  • Go here to listen to the full podcast. 


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