Stakeholders: Press the flesh on MPP

Friday, August 3, 2012

WASHINGTON – With Congress on break for five weeks and elections looming in November, it’s the perfect time to reach out to lawmakers about the market-pricing program (MPP), industry stakeholders say.

"They are more willing to listen, because they want votes and money," said Wayne Stanfield, president and CEO of NAIMES. "Whether they will do anything or not, (who knows)."

Right now, MPP, the industry’s alternative to competitive bidding is held up in the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), where it’s awaiting a score.

The VGM Group's John Gallagher told listeners during a “Lunch Bucket” webinar last week that he just got back from Washington, D.C., where he attended events for Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, and met with staffers for several Iowa lawmakers.

“They said they’re not hearing from providers," Gallagher, vice president of government relations, told listeners. "You can change things, one senator, one congressman at a time.”

Provider Jerry Hall has done just that, hosting U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., at Hall-Moore Medical Supplies in Jacksonville, Fla., on July 27. The congressman toured the facility and participated in a roundtable discussion on competitive bidding. Hall knows that, without a score, lawmakers’ hands are tied on MPP.

"I just keep pushing because I have a feeling that the day is going to come that there's going to be some legislation or something that will come out," he said. "(When that happens), I know that the four congressmen in our area will say, 'We know all about that.'"

Stakeholders hope that, with the score for the Affordable Care Act out of the way, the CBO has turned its attention to MPP.

"A lot of members of Congress, particularly the Senate, are looking to see what happens with the score and where it goes," Gallagher told HME News.

NAIMES is working to provide state associations with town hall meeting lists so providers know where and when to find lawmakers. Providers can be sure industry organizations will plan plenty of events, as well.

One such event: On Aug. 22, the Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services (MAMES) and VGM will host a roundtable at Kohll's Pharmacy and Homecare in Omaha, Neb. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., will participate. FMI: