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AAH on HME: ‘We solve the crisis’ 

AAH on HME: ‘We solve the crisis’ 

WASHINGTON – AAHomecare is striking while the iron is hot with its recent decision to engage a public relations firm to help the industry show the value of HME. 

“Home oxygen therapy right now is on the tip of the tongue to the average person (due to the COVID-19 pandemic),” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of the association. “They’ve heard about vents, too. They know, what would a day without HME look like?” 

Here’s what Ryan and Tilly Gambill, AAHomecare’s director of marketing and communications, had to say about how the association will work with Keybridge Communications to secure op-eds in key media outlets in Washington, D.C., to not only show the value of HME but also push for sorely needed relief. 

HME News: What’s the value of HME in a nutshell? 

Tom Ryan: With what’s happening today (with the pandemic) and with aging (preferences) – we’re the heroes. Home care helps solve the crisis; we’re not part of the crisis. We’re 1.2% of Medicare spend; hospitals are 40%. Dollars need to be going (toward home care) not going in a down reimbursement trend.  

HME: How will a media campaign help the industry’s efforts to get lawmakers or CMS to address reimbursement? 

Tom Ryan: Bloomberg, Inside Health Policy, The Hill – these are all read by legislative staffers and CMS. The messages in these media outlets are very important. We need lawmakers and CMS to see that we need the single payment amounts adjusted. We’re talking about 2016 rates, here, when our costs to serve, with PPE and the cost of goods, are going up. That message has to resonate.  

HME: AAHomecare recently published the results of a survey that talked about supply chain issues and increased costs due to the pandemic. 

Ryan: Ninety percent have reported costs are up. So, we have this floored reimbursement and a tsunami with cost of goods that’s dramatic. It’s outrageous. There have been changes in freight costs. The price at the pump has gone up. We have to get reimbursement up to date with that. 

HME: AAHomecare has engaged a PR firm before. Why again? Why now? 

Tilly Gambill: We’ve been talking about the value of home care and getting the message out for a few years. We’re improving people’s lives every day and now is the time to use that message to show the Hill we need stable rates. The two work in tandem to move forward our initiatives. 


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