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Jeff Barnhard commits to aligning industry’s message

Jeff Barnhard commits to aligning industry’s message

Jeff BarnhardWASHINGTON – Jeff Barnhard says he will bring a broad perspective to his new role as chairman of the Council for Quality Respiratory Care, thanks to a resume that includes roles at providers big and small. 

“What I’ve seen that’s been common throughout all those different roles is there’s always a drive for patient care and patient excellence in care,” said Barnhard, who was named CEO of Lincare in 2023 and who previously worked at Praxair. “We continue to see a need to build our reputation as DME suppliers. We continue to have a lot of regulatory challenges, and we need to align our message to effect change.” 

Barnhard spoke with HME News recently to dig into some of his initial priorities as chair, including building support for the Supplemental Oxygen Access Reform (SOAR) Act, which was introduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives earlier this year. 

HME News: What do you see as some of the key challenges to tackle as chairman of the CQRC? 

Jeff: Barnhard: Patient access and reimbursement challenges. For patient access, I've talked about how, with noninvasive ventilation, we've seen a very high denial rate really spike up over the past few years. Also, for access to oxygen, which is what led us to put together the SOAR Act. And then, from a standpoint of reimbursement, we're not getting clean reimbursement and (there’s a) need for very clear cut, quantitative measures around oxygen instead of (getting the) chart notes.  

HME: What has been the response to the SOAR Act? 

Barnhard: It's been very good. From my experience, it's rare that you have so many groups in line and pushing for the same thing. We've got physicians who are saying there's an access issue around high purity oxygen and high flow oxygen; the patient groups are also looking for a solution, especially young patients (with) cystic fibrosis or with lung transplants, (who are having difficulty getting) access to the quantity and the quality of oxygen that they need. So, there are many groups that are saying, OK this looks like a solution that can work for all of us. When I've spent time in D.C., the legislators have already talked to some of these patient groups and they're asking how they can support that, so we're starting to get a number of lawmakers to sign on to it. 

HME: Do you feel that the HME industry has gotten better at aligning its message? 

Barnhard: It’s one of those things that you could always do better but having that aligned message and making sure that we don’t have conflicts when we’re talking to folks on the Hill or other stakeholders is critically important because we don’t want to look like we don’t know what we want. Having that upfront conversation before we go in and talking to legislators helps us move our issues forward in a very succinct manner.


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