AAH pushes back

New campaign fights perception of providers as equipment dealers
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Friday, August 23, 2019

WASHINGTON – AAHomecare has kicked off a new campaign showcasing the value of HME providers, naming Gayle Devin, CEO of Minneapolis-based ActivStyle (see related story), as its first “HME Hero.”

AAHomecare plans to use the campaign to build a “repository of positive stories” about HME providers who are reducing overall healthcare costs and making other impacts, says Tom Ryan, president and CEO of the association.

“To solve the crisis as it exists today, we need qualitative data and quantitative data,” he said. “That’s how we can show we provide value.”

The idea for the campaign was born in research commissioned by AAHomecare and conducted by Porter Research that showed providers want the association to help change “the perception of the HME industry from equipment dealers to partners in care services and equipment.”

While AAHomecare’s No. 1 priority remains securing fair reimbursement, there’s a new generation of providers that has emerged from Medicare’s competitive bidding program and looks at the HME industry positively, and the association wants to embrace and reflect that, Ryan says.

“There are challenges, but this is an industry with a compound annual growth rate of 4% to 6%,” he said. “This is an exciting market when you can figure out how to do it right.”

A new generation of AAHomecare has also emerged, Ryan says: The association recently unveiled a new brand and logo, and highlighted its regulatory and legislative accomplishments in non-Medicare markets in a recent white paper.

“We’re not the AAHomecare of yesterday,” he said. “It used to be the only lane we stayed in was federal; now we’re in every state and working with every payer.”

In addition to building a “repository of positive stories,” AAHomecare plans to use the campaign to show the importance of being a member of industry associations to succeeding in HME, Ryan says.

“It’s a potentially $50 billion industry with a $3.5 million association budget,” he said. “We have done great growing our membership with the challenges—we’ve seen consistent growth over the last several years and we have a great retention rate—but we should be a $10 million association.”