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Stakeholders lean into GAP

Stakeholders lean into GAP

Ashley PlaucheWASHINGTON – With support for HME legislation slow-going, industry stakeholders are using the Grassroots Accountability Project (GAP) to take away the “fear factor” around advocacy. 

GAP, a joint effort between AAHomecare, VGM and state associations, recently launched a short video to walk through the advocacy process for securing co-sponsors for H.R. 6641.  

“We want to break down those barriers that might keep people from taking that next step of advocacy,” said Ashley Plauche, director of member and public relations for AAHomecare. “We’re making sure they know what the issues are, that they are comfortable with the language and understand the process.” 

Introduced Feb. 8 by Reps. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., and Paul Tonko, D, N.Y., H.R. 6641 would implement a blended reimbursement rate based 90% on bid pricing and 10% on the 2015 fee schedule, representing about a 10% to 15% increase. 

The number of co-sponsors for the bill has been hovering at 15.  

“We need to keep it where we can drive it forward,” said Plauche. “The goal is to get those co-sponsors and pave the way for action later this year, and it’s going to take everybody rolling up their sleeves and doing it.” 

The goal of GAP is to recruit volunteers to cover all of the 535 federal legislative offices. Because stakeholders are busy with the day-to-day running of their businesses, the project tries to make it as easy as possible to build relationships and reach out when there is an urgent call for action. 

“We try to give you all the stuff, all the talking points, so that it can be a quick,” said Emily Harken, director of operations for VGM Government Relations. “We try to make it not intimidating.”  

Grassroots advocacy does pay off, says Plauche. 

“You can see when there’s a lot of momentum,” she said. “We’ll get the response from the Hill side saying, ‘Yes, I’ve been looking at this.’ Whenever there is some sort of action, we get inundated with emails.”


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