'Get in there'

Bill will get passed one lawmaker at a time, Florida coalition says
Wednesday, October 9, 2013

OCCC – A coalition of HME providers from Florida gathered in Room W209A on Wednesday morning to share its success story in convincing Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., to co-sponsor H.R. 1717.

Staff from Posey’s office was also there.

“Six dealers in District 8 were able to do this,” said Shelly Prial, who has accompanied the coalition on visits with lawmakers. “It’s a small thing, but it’s a very large thing. This can be replicated across the United States.”

Members of the coalition in attendance: Gene Sego of Sego’s Home Medical Equipment; Colleen Hunter and Donna Sammon of Browning’s Pharmacy; Kamen Jenkins of Wuesthoff Home Medical; and Greg Bonenberger of Brevard HME.

The providers discussed how they were able to get through to Posey by emphasizing the impact of competitive bidding on beneficiaries and their access to care; and the increase—not decrease—in costs to both Medicare and beneficiaries.

“They’ve misled beneficiaries that there are great savings, but they’re so frustrated (with the program), they’re paying (out of pocket),” Sego said.

Even now that the coalition has Posey on board, they’re not stopping there. They continue to advocate for H.R. 1717 by educating beneficiaries about the program and suggesting they call People for Quality Care’s complaint hotline (800-404-8702).

“We’re very liberal in giving out that number,” Bonenberger said.

The coalition acknowledges that lobbying can be nerve-wracking, but it’s work worth doing.

“It’s scary to meet with your congressman,” Hunter said. “But we want to let everyone know it can be done. All you need is someone in each county to spearhead it, get a roundtable together and get in there.”