Carol Gentry smears the HME industry; AAHomecare fires back

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11/25/2009

If you can help it, never miss an opportunity to set the record straight when it comes to ignorance about the HME industry. And as we all know, there’s plenty of ignorance out there.

Here’s a perfect example. Carol Gentry, the editor of Health News Florida published an editorial today, absurdly insinuating that the HME industry has no interest in controlling Medicare fraud and abuse.

Once he saw that, Michael Reinemer, AAHomecare’s vice president, communications and policy, took action. At 1:51 p.m., he emailed Gentry to protest.

In part, here’s what he wrote:

Carol, it’s ironic that you would publish a smear of durable medical equipment advocates, suggesting in your article today that we tolerate fraud.

Today we endorsed the very anti-fraud bill you discuss – Sen. LeMieux’s bill, which draws on a number of the provisions we proposed to Congress earlier this year in our 13-point anti-fraud plan, attached.

You owe the durable medical equipment community and Congressman Meek in particular an apology and a correction.

I’d like to hear back from you by Monday, Nov. 30.

Gentry got back to him well before Monday.

At 2:09 p.m., she emailed back:

Mea culpa, will run 2 the computer and so note. Thanks!

At 2:20 p.m. she added in a second email:

To answer your question, the competitive bidding pilot has more to do with controlling costs than with fraud, but it would logically also have a discouraging effect on fraud, I would think, because there wouldn’t be any way for the fly-by-night players to gain contracts. If I’m wrong I’m sure you’ll set me straight.

By the way, has the association endorsed the Grassley bill as well? What’s your thinking on that?

If you notice that a journalist reports incorrect information about the HME industry, you’ve got to demand a correction or clarification. If they have any professional ethics, they’ll apologize and atone. A correction never has the impact of the original mistake, but it's better than nothing and a necessary part of the industry's ongoing efforts to educate the public about HMEs benefits.

Speaking of competitive bidding, here’s a good piece of advice from The VGM Group:

Due to the holiday break, your Senators and Congressmen are currently in their home states until Monday, Nov. 30.  This is your opportunity to seek their support in person.  Contact their district offices to seek appointments and check their websites for a current schedule of Health Care Reform-related public appearances.

Continue contacting your Congressperson seeking their support of H.R. 3790. Also, contact your Senators and ask for their support on the health reform bill.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Mike Moran

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