Monday, December 31, 2001

Merging home health, HME

Q. Is the merger of AHCA with AAHomecare good news for HMEs?

A. This will create a powerful voice for our industry that will have the support of both DME/HME dealers and home health agencies.

This merger is long overdue. Both entities have been forced to live under a multitude of governmental regulations. Both entities have been obliged to respond to many CMS requirements. The consolidated billing program has forced a "marriage" that was inevitable.

By combining resources and staff, our industry can now make much stronger presentations to Congress that will be heard. Both organizations, AHCA and AAH, have done yeoman work in bringing messages to the legislators. Not only have the problems and needs of DME dealers been presented by AAH, and those of the agencies by AHCA, but now the combined voice will speak for them and the beneficiaries as well.

I am very pleased to see this consolidation happen. I am fully aware of the many hours that went into these negotiations to bring about a new association that will be very influential. Through this merger, I anticipate that the voice of the medical equipment providers and service providers will be greatly enhanced as a result. HME/DME dealers will now
have an even stronger voice and the benefits of this will flow through our industry. "United we stand, divided we fall." I applaud this merger.

Sheldon Prial is the director of government relations for The VGM Group. Reach him at 321-255-3885.