AAHomecare takes short and long view

Delay bid program, assess changed landscape
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Friday, May 8, 2020

WASHINGTON – AAHomecare is working with Dobson DaVanzo & Associates to package together the results of a recent survey in another push to delay Round 2021 of competitive bidding.

The association in April conducted a survey of HME providers and manufacturers/distributors to assess increased costs and supply chain disruptions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s a different world than what it was (when the bid window for Round 2021 closed),” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare.

The survey reveals widespread equipment shortages, surcharges and loss of revenue.

Although the HME industry has seen some relief amid the pandemic, including the implementation in March of 75/25 blended rates for non-rural, non-competitive bid areas and the removal in April of ventilators from Round 2021, stakeholders continue to make their case for an at least one-year delay of the program, which is set to kick of Jan. 1, 2021.

“Capacity is going to be an issue,” Ryan said. “We don’t know when they will have a vaccine for the virus. This is not a wise time to open up bidding and decrease capacity.”

Bigger picture, AAHomecare is also creating a survey to get an idea of what the HME landscape will look like in the wake of the pandemic.

“Once we get through the crisis, there’s going to be a new normal,” Ryan said. “What are we going to do as an industry to help people adjust business operations accordingly? Some of these changes will remain in place for a long time. We want to get an idea from the provider community of, what do they see today that they think will continue.”

Adding to the challenge of carving a path forward are regional differences, both in terms of the timelines of individual states re-opening and the rates of COVID-19 infections—and the impact that has had on providers, says Ryan.

“Some areas like oxygen are up 350% but other areas like sleep may be down 60% or so,” he said.