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AAHomecare: Industry ‘shining’ as pressure mounts

AAHomecare: Industry ‘shining’ as pressure mounts

Tom RyanATLANTA – There’s an increasing amount of pressure on CMS to finalize a DMEPOS proposed rule that would adjust payment rates for HME, AAHomecare’s Tom Ryan said in an update at Medtrade East on Tuesday morning.

A letter asking CMS to act on the rule, published a year ago, garnered 95 signatures last week from members of the House of Representatives, including champions on the influential Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees.

“That’s in the hands of HHS,” said Ryan, president and CEO of the association. “If they don’t make a decision, we’ll likely move to introduce legislation.”

Later on Tuesday, AAHomecare reported that CMS has now sent the proposed rule to the Office of Management and Budget for final review, a process the association says could take days or stretch on further.

The association, in conjunction with PR firm Keybridge Communications, has also been working to highlight the importance of HME during the COVID-19 pandemic with op-eds in various media outlets and publications that influence policy on Capitol Hill and in the administration. One op-ed this spring was syndicated in 27 newspapers in 41 states and the District of Columbia, garnering 30 million hits, says Ryan.

“We’re shining out in the public mind,” he said. “Oxygen and vents are now on the tip of the tongue.”

Additionally, AAHomecare is stressing the impact of cost increases and supply chain issues on the already battle-weary industry, says Jay Witter.

“The more pressure we can build on Congress, the more we can convince them it’s an emergency,” said Witter, senior vice president of public policy. “They, ultimately, oversee Medicare, so it’s vital you have relationships with your members to tell that story.”

‘A supplier is a supplier is a supplier’

While the industry has had somewhat of a reprieve from audits during the public health emergency, they’re starting back up, including the Target Probe and Educate Program, and they’re presenting challenges, says Kim Brummett.

“The disposable medical supplies are getting hit heavy,” said Brummett, vice president of regulatory affairs. “The biggest problem is the auditors are looking at each NPI number, because in their mind, each NPI is a standalone operation, but with consolidation that’s no longer the case. A supplier is a supplier is a supplier.”

‘What do you need help with?'

AAHomecare is also working on a state level on a host of ongoing issues, including developing resources to help providers better understand Medicare Advantage contracts. Reflecting that focus, this year’s show features State Straight Talk on the show floor, says Laura Williard.

“We get a lot of questions at Medtrade asking, ‘What’s happening in (such-and-such) state,’” said Williard, vice president of payer relations. “It’s not just updates – we’ll also ask you, ‘What do you need help with?’”


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