Where are all the HME leaders?


In September, Washington lawmakers return from their summer recess and begin to forge a final healthcare reform package. That means HME leaders have another month or so to get their act together and compromise on a plan to reform the Medicare oxygen benefit. That’s if they want oxygen reform to be part of healthcare reform in some way, shape or form.

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On the one side of this issue we have AAHomecare & Co. On the other side sits NAIMES and CSIHME.

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I’m not a clinician or a provider, so I’m not going to take a side. I don’t know what’s best for patients or providers. But I do know that for the good of the industry, both sides need to come to the table and hammer out a compromise. That’s what leaders do.

No plan will please everyone, but the plan that does emerge should be one that most providers—large and small—can live with.

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I know there are good people on both sides of this issue. We’re about to find out if there are also good leaders.

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— Mike Moran


Leadership is an important issue. However NAIMES and CSI:HME probably do not have the financial or lobbying resources available to get anyone in Congress to listen on a mass scale. AAHomecare is the industrys only unified voice that Congress might listen to. (No, I am not a AAHomecare member). After speaking with Michael Reinemer (AAHomecare Public Relations) a couple of weeks ago, he made it clear that the media opinion and for the most part, congressional opinion regarding HME is purely negative. No one is going to see or read in the media a positive story about HME and I certainly haven't heard anything from Congress on how important HME's role in healthcare prevents other unnecessary costs. Case in point.....AAHomecare announced they were speaking with CNN regarding an upcoming presentation about HME. When the report was presented on CNN, false facts were stated and any contributions made by AAHomecare to enhance the positive view of HME were tossed aside and the hatchet job began. With that in mind, we discussed the critical nature of the HME industrys need to negotiate reimbursement cuts in order to eliminate competitive bidding. CMS already has the information regarding the previous competitive bidding process that was postponed. A 26% benchmark cut has already been established through that process. Now CMS will look for even a further cut during this next competitive bidding process which most of us should know how will turn out. I don't really understand why these groups haven't already gotten together and discussed the fact that CMS has us where they want us and the industry voice needs to go into Congress and negotiate the same way the hospital and drugs industries have done so we can be left alone, deal with the fall out, yet understand that competitive bidding will be gone and we still have the opportunity in continuing service for Medicare beneficiaries. These industry representatives need to negotiate with Congress instead of trying to put a positive spin on everything we do as providers. Our industry is the focus of Medicare fraud and for good reason, so negotiating substantial reimbursement cuts now just might do the trick. If not, let the competitive bidding process begin and watch how HME providers who focus on Medicare can just find themselves looking for another line of business.