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AAHomecare: Turn pain into action 

AAHomecare: Turn pain into action 

Jay WitterWASHINGTON – Rising inflation, outdated reimbursement and competitive bidding were the topics of conversation during a recent meeting between industry stakeholders and CMS officials. 

Stakeholders have been ramping up questions about the bidding program, in particular, after a vague notice of proposed rulemaking with a December date was included in the Unified Agenda. 

“I didn’t see any sense of urgency (from CMS) in moving forward and certainly from a timeline standpoint, they are behind target,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare. “More than likely, we will not see any rule this year.” 

Simply put, there aren’t any more savings to be had, especially in the current economy, stakeholders say. 

It’s a message stakeholders continue to hammer home as they seek support for H.R. 6641, which would implement a blended rate based 90% on bid pricing and 10% on the 2015 fee schedule, as well as an extension of the 75/25 blended reimbursement rate for non-bid, non-rural areas in place through the public health emergency as part of the CARES Act.    

“We’re urging state leaders and our grassroots activists to use the August recess to push this,” said Jay Witter, vice president of government relations for AAHomecare. 

Progress made during the summer recess will prime the pump for a busy September. A continuing resolution to fund the government expires Sept. 30, and it’s not clear yet what Congress will do, says Witter. 

“That’s our target and we’ve been talking with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R.-Wash., getting an update on the strategy,” he said. “We’ve been clear we want to be on the next vehicle.”  

AAHomecare’s Virtual Washington Legislative Conference takes place Sept. 21, with a full day of meetings planned. The virtual format allows for more meetings in a shorter amount of time, says Ryan. 

“We anticipate a tremendous amount of meetings and we’ve gotten a good early response for registration,” he said. “Providers are feeling the pain.”  


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