Grassroots HME Campaign Still Cooking
A grassroots lobbying campaign launched at the beginning of February by the AA Homecare, the NAIMES, the VGM Group and MED Group is still underway and needs provider involvement, says NAIMES president and CEO Wayne Stanfield.
The campaign sought to help providers and patients impress upon their Congress members the value of the HME market by slating visits with members of Congress while they were on recess, increasing attendance of this month’s AA Homecare Washington Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., and having providers give pre-addressed postcards to 10 patients to tell their Congress members in their own handwriting why homecare and DME provide a critical role in their lives.
Providers and patients slating visits to the home district offices of every member of Congress. “Time is short and the stakes are high,” said AA Homecare president Tyler Wilson when the program was launched, and so far, Stanfield says the program has had good momentum.
“The Rock the Halls of Congress campaign has gone very well,” Stanfield said. “With the short notice launch, we knew it was an uphill fight. The campaign is still in progress and we will continue through the spring. We still want suppliers to go to www.dmehelp.org and download the information to push the message to members of Congress. We are asking suppliers to use the postcards for patients and visit their local Representatives district office over the next months. We must change public policy for DME, one Congressman at a time. It is never too late to become active. It is a matter of ‘Get into politics, or get out of DME.'"
Also, during the congressional recess, a number of homecare providers met with their Congress members to discuss homecare issues. For instance, on Monday, AAHomecare member Pat Smith, president of Community Medical Supply, met with Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) during the Congressman’s visit to Washington, Iowa, according to the association.
An AAHomecare statement reported that Smith said that the federal government is taking advantage of the HME industry “by cutting reimbursement for the purchase of health care products. We see some problems coming that may result in the loss of Medicare beneficiaries’ ability to choose where they go to receive their health care because of issues like national competitive bidding and limiting the number of providers available for a choice to Medicare beneficiaries.”
Smith said he also discussed the importance of preserving the first-month purchase option for power wheelchairs with the Congressman, according to the AAHomecare statement.