Providers form association

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

SALT LAKE CITY - The next time Tom Bradley and Jay Broadbent visit Washington, D.C., they expect to be heard.
In the past, Bradley, president of Petersen Medical in Orem, Utah, and Broadbent, president of Alpine Home Medical Equipment in Salt Lake City, have had some luck getting the ears of legislators, including U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. But bolstered by a new state association that they helped to form, Bradley and Broadbent hope to broaden their support base and "spend real time with representatives who haven't given us the time of day," Bradley said.
"One of the questions that we've been asked on many occasions has been, 'Are you part of a group or association?'" he said. "When you say no, you're pretty quickly dismissed."
Petersen Medical and Alpine Home Medical formed Utah Medical Equipment Dealers (UTMED) in September. The association named Bradley and Broadbent president and vice president, respectively, in January. For its membership, the association plans to draw on the state's 30-plus providers.
Like other associations, UTMED plans to lobby legislators to soften the blow of national competitive bidding, repeal the 36-month cap on Medicare oxygen reimbursement and reconsider CMS's new codes, pricing and coverage criteria for power mobility devices.
UTMED also plans to advocate for providers and their patients on Medicaid issues.
"What CMS is doing is huge," Bradley said. "But the things that will affect the majority of our HMEs come from Medicaid."
Providers in Utah have welcomed UTMED, Bradley and Broadbent said. About 40 people showed up for a recent meeting.
"There's a feeling that we have to be more active," Broadbent said.