Penn. legislators support HME struggle

Saturday, November 30, 2002

HARRISBURG, Pa. - In the battle that has become competitive bidding, the Pennsylvania Association of Medical Suppliers (PAMS) is touting a resounding victory in the state's House of Representatives.

In late October, representatives voted 186 to 5 to adopt a resolution opposing the inclusion of competitive bidding in any legislation, according to Claire Turner, executive director of PAMS. The Pennsylvania House then forwarded that resolution to Congress.

"What a win for Pennsylvania providers!" said Turner in a prepared statement. "It affirms that our unified voice does make a difference on both the state and national level and that our efforts aren't unfounded."

Turner told HME News that she believes representatives approved the resolution because they have been just as frustrated as providers have been with the cuts that the HME industry has faced recently from every direction - Medicare, Medicaid, etc.

"I can't say for sure," she said, "but I think this was their way of helping us."

Turner said members of PAMS brought competitive bidding up during a visit with the staff of Rep. George Kenney (R-Philadelphia) this summer, and the staff proposed the resolution. Kenney, chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee, introduced the resolution to the House.

In the past few years, Turner said, PAMS has made a conscious effort to educate representatives on the HME industry and the concerns providers have with the current healthcare climate. The association has hired a part-time lobbyist, and PAMS members have worked on cultivating relationships with representatives, she said. HME