Q&A: Jay Witter
WASHINGTON – AAHomecare hopes a strong turnout for its Washington Legislative Conference May 22-23 will help drum up congressional support for H.R. 1717, a bill to replace competitive bidding with a market pricing program (MPP). In preparation for the event, the association is hosting a webinar May 7 designed as a refresher on how to conduct visits with lawmakers. Here’s what Jay Witter, vice president of government affairs, had to say about the conference.
HME News: What’s the goal this year as far as attendance?
Jay Witter: Even if we match last year’s attendance, that’s not good enough. We want to exceed last year’s numbers. Now that Reps. Tom Price and John Larson have introduced legislation, the goal is to have all of our members come into D.C. and talk about Round 2 problems and get congressional support for H.R. 1717.
HME: The timing of the conference seems perfect.
Witter: We’re at a critical time right now. Round 2 contracts go into effect July 1, so we’re trying to build as much pressure on Congress to move as quickly as possible.
HME: What will be different about this year’s conference?
Witter: I think the level of energy will be greater, because there’s such a need to rally the troops. We have true industry champions on our side, and we’ve confirmed that Reps. Price, Glenn Thompson and Marsha Blackburn will be speaking at the conference.
HME: What are some keys to good visits with lawmakers?
Witter: Explaining what HME providers do, what they have to go through to provide equipment to Medicare patients, and the effects of Round 2 on their businesses. Providers need to explain that Congress needs to pass something better than a bid system. Ultimately, we need to remind Congress that home care saves Medicare money.
HME: How will AAHomecare keep up the momentum after the visits?
Witter: We have feedback forms from participants, and we use that information to follow up on meetings. We work with those who come into D.C. long after the May event. We build off those events and continue to use that information for the rest of the year.