Providers Gear up for 'Save our Jobs — Protect our Patients'
President's Day recess lobbying effort aims to bring Meek bill to 218 co-sponsors.
- By David Kopf
- Feb 05, 2010
As support for H.R. 3790, the bill to eliminate competitive bidding, increases, providers are gearing up for “Save our Jobs — Protect our Patients,” an industry-wide push to boost the bill’s support toward its goal of 218 co-sponsors
Bipartisan support for H.R. 3790 is now at 140 lawmakers co-sponsoring the bill. This week, Reps. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) added their names to the Meek bill, the American Association for Homecare reports.
To push H.R. 3790, sponsored by Rep. Kendrick Meek’s (D-Fla.). to its goal of 218 co-sponsors, the National Association of Independent Medical Equipment Suppliers (NAIMES) is calling on providers to join in the industry’s “Save our Jobs — Protect our Patients” effort, starting next as Congress goes into its President’s Day weekend, from Feb. 12 to Feb. 22. During that time providers should call their Representatives and urge them to support the Meek bill.
The effort marks the third installment of a continued push to get co-sponsors. The first was VGM’s "Shutdown the Switchboard" effort, which was followed with AAHomecare’s "Meek Week" event.
NAIMES will distribute additional details of the call-in to Congress next week, as well as an electronic survey so that providers can post their lobbying results on line.
Key points that providers should make to lawmakers are that:
- Conservative estimates are that by the end of round one of competitive bidding, more than 18,000 DME jobs will be lost, and by the end of round two, more than a million jobs will be lost. NAIMES based the figures on 50 percent of the suppliers in the bid areas closing or downsizing.
- Patient access to care and services will be reduced by such a significant loss of suppliers at a time when the Medicare senior population is growing nearly 8,000 each day. NAIMES notes that CMS agrees that 90 percent of small suppliers will likely close.
- While H.R. 3790 is budget neutral, the industry has already paid for competitive bidding’s repeal given that the CBO projected savings from the program was $5.8 billion over 10 years. According to CMS figures, the Medicare 2008 DME segment is a $9 Billion annual program. Based on those figures, and taking 9.5% of the total 2008 annual Medicare DME payments, the DME industry will pay $9.0 Billion over 10 years just for this delay.
David Kopf is the Editor of HME Business.