Here are a few quotables and tidbits from my first day at the AAHomecare Washington Legislative Conference.
You’ll end up in cuffs, sir
Outgoing AAHomecare Chairman Robert Steedley started everyone off this morning with a funny anecdote about Jay Witter, the association’s senior vice president of public policy. It turns out Steedley has a thing for cuff links and when Witter was preparing him for this week’s testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee Health Subcommittee, Steedley said something to the effect of, What if I get so worked up under questioning that I slam the mic down on the table? Witter replied, “Well, you’ll end up in cuffs, sir.” This is why, Steedley explained, he thinks everyone should call Jay Witter, Jay Witty.
Hey, you’re not Sean Cavanaugh
The conference’s keynote speaker, Sean Cavanaugh, deputy administrator & director of the Center for Medicaid, couldn’t make it. His replacement: Rahul Rajkumar, deputy director for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation. Rajkumar explained why he was happy to be before a crowd of HME providers. You see, Cavanaugh came up to him and said one of them had to testify at a congressional hearing. Cavanaugh told him: You have a choice, you can testify or you can speak to this group. “This is why I’m incredibly happy to be here today,” Rajkumar joked.
The way we pay for health care matters
Rajkumar, from India, shared a story about visiting New Dehli and witnessing a relative have an acute stroke. He and his uncle got him into a car and raced him to the hospital, where a neurosurgeon agreed that he was having a stroke and needed TPA, a protein that helps breakdown blood clots. But before the neurologist could administer the TPA, the father needed a CAT scan, and before the father could have a CAT scan, Rajkumar needed to go pay for it in advance. “The neurologist had a look of anguish on his face when he told me that,” he said. “The way we pay for health care matters because it says what matters.”
After Sen. John Hoeven, D-N.D., spoke, an attendee stood up to say that if competitive bidding were expanded nationwide he would have to close his business of six stores and 66 employees. Hoeven had this advice for providers as they set out on their Capitol Hill visits tomorrow morning: “Emphasize the small business impact. This will wipe out small businesses in this industry.”
Have you heard from Boehner?
AAHomecare’s reception to honor Invacare’s Mal Mixon with a lifetime achievement award featured a video from House Speaker John Boehner. It also featured a presentation by Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio. Also there to honor Mal: new President and CEO Matthew Monaghan and former Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer Lou Slangen. After receiving the award, Mixon spoke of the importance of engaging lawmakers in the industry’s issues. “We’re not selling pots and pans,” he said. “What we do is real worthwhile to society.”