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Stakeholders hit the ground running with new bill 

Stakeholders hit the ground running with new bill  Legislative conference helps to grow number of co-sponsors 

Jay WitterWASHINGTON – The HME industry needs to be “prepared for anything,” stakeholders say, to get reimbursement relief in place for 2024. 

Stakeholders converged virtually on Capitol Hill on Sept. 20 as part of AAHomecare’s Washington Legislative Conference to push the DMEPOS Relief Act of 2023 (H.R. 5555), a bill that would provide a 90/10 blended Medicare reimbursement rate for most home medical equipment products in competitive bidding areas for all of 2024 and extend the current 75/25 blended rate currently in effect in rural/non-CBA areas through 2024. 

“I had a conversation with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., about (potential) vehicles,” said Jay Witter, senior vice president of government relations for AAHomecare. “The future with Congress and vehicles is unclear, but they told us to be prepared for anything and not wait for a possible moving vehicle. We can't control the calendar or what's being moved through Congress, but they seem committed to, one way or another, getting this passed.” 

H.R. 5555, introduced Sept. 19 by Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, and Paul Tonko, D-N.Y., is a companion bill to S. 1294, introduced April 27 by Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. 

A key goal of the attendees who participated in nearly 220 meetings, including 11 meetings with ties to the House Ways and Means Committee, 30 with the House Energy and Commerce Committee and 20 with the Senate Finance Committee, was picking up co-sponsors for both bills. Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Ind., signed on, the first for H.R. 5555. 

“We had a lot of high-level meetings and talked about how we need to make sure this is a bi-partisan effort,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare. “We really pushed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s office with a team of about six other New Yorkers, who really discussed their pain points. They could talk about what it’s like to be boots on the street in New York and how challenging it is. And it was like that with meetings all around the country.” 

Other meetings were held with the offices of Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, D-Calif. 

“Before, during and after these fly-ins, I have really good communications with our members but also from the Hill,” said Witter. “I heard really good stories from the congressional offices, so I suspect we will pick up new co-sponsors for all our bills.” 


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