Proposed cut: DMIE not DME

Sunday, May 31, 2009

DES MOINES, Iowa--It turns out Gov. Chet Culver won’t be eliminating funding for durable medical equipment after all.

Provider Aaron Lerberg got a scare recently, when an acquaintance in the state’s Department of Human Services notified him that a summary of the governor’s budget proposed eliminating funding for DME for fiscal year 2008-09, saving $2,387,044. Lerberg notified the Midwest Association of Medical Equipment Services (MAMES) immediately.

“When we found out, we had one of our members contact Rep. Scott Raecker, and he said, ‘No, it’s another program being cut with a similar acronym: DMIE,” said Rose Schafhauser, executive director of MAMES. “I feel sorry for DMIE, but we can’t help them.”

DMIE stands for demonstration to maintain independence and employment.

Quite relieved, Lerberg, owner of Medically Yours, says the moral of the story is this: Providers need to keep their state and regional associations in the loop.

“It’s easy for me to go, as the lone ranger, and try to contact people, but if I have the power of MAMES behind me, it makes all the difference,” he said. “It’s nice to know that when a provider brings something to their attention, they act on it.”

Although the cut was a false alarm, MAMES and providers have no intention of letting their guard down.

“We’re always monitoring things,” Lerberg said.