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Patient access: Reach out, speak up

Patient access: Reach out, speak up

Kathryn VaughnQ. When is it time to challenge the status quo?  

A. We cringe when we hear the phrase, “We’ve always done it that way.” Leaders know that change is constant and reliance on outdated methods can prove fatal to a business. However, when it comes to advocacy, many ask “What’s the use, it’ll never change?” It is easy to understand how people come to feel this way, as our industry is often overlooked and undervalued. However, the reality is that the HME industry has had quite a few significant wins. From Florida Medicaid’s first rate increase in two decades to Kansas Medicaid increasing reimbursement from 65% to 80% of Medicare. The window of opportunity is open now, with historic CPI increases and the value of HME suppliers during the pandemic fresh in stakeholders’ minds.  

As we continue to tackle market access challenges, we consistently hear from payers that they were unaware of a problem. This is the feedback whether it is health policy that is not aligned with standards of care or reimbursement rates that have not been updated in more than 20 years. Without elevating the voice of end-users and their health care provider, manufacturing and supplier communities, payers are likely to operate under the assumption that challenges do not exist. So, while we may make noise amongst ourselves about the challenges, if the message is not relayed to payers in a constructive manner, they are likely to persist.  

We must all speak up! If you’re still sitting on the sidelines, it’s time to reach out to your state association, AAHomecare and to your manufacturer partners to share the issues that are directly impacting your business and ask, “How do I get in the fight?”  

When is the right time to challenge the status quo? The time is now! 

Kathryn Vaughn is director of Market Access for Coloplast. Reach her at


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