Annual Advisory Board Roundtable
Keep Advocating for H.R. 2771
While Round 2021 is an unknown, the industry can focus on the grassroots effort to build support for legislation extending rural and non-bid area relief, as well as protecting oxygen funding.
Introduction: Each fall, HMEB’s Editorial Advisory Board share their time and expertise to examine the various factors that will impact providers in the coming months. In this installment, Tom Ryan, President and CEO of the American Association for Homecare, discusses that, while the industry works to see what the fates of competitive bidding Round 2021 and any possible rural relief rule will be, stakeholders can continue to drive support for H.R. 2771:
We continue to work with Congress and pressure CMS to delay competitive bidding. As of late September, we reached out to CMS and they still have not decided on the payment rule or delaying Round 2021. Essentially, we’ve been in a gap period for two years.
The last rule that came out continued with the 50/50 blended rate, which was the relief we had in previous legislation, and an interim final rule. Now, with competitive bidding ready to start again in 2021, although we are advocating for CMS to delay it, there’s going to be some kind of rule that should be coming out that would tell us what the rural and non-bid rates would be.
We’re working with the House and Senate to pressure OMB to release the rule. And once that rule comes out, depending on what is in it, then we have to continue to work with Congress to get relief for the non-competitive bidding areas.
We certainly believe the public health emergency is going to last through the end of the year. But if the rule does not come out, and it does not appropriately address rural relief, then that’s something we will have to focus on, and we will do that through H.R. 2771.
H.R.2771 gives relief in the non-CBAs, and we have to continue advocating for that. We need relief — especially now that we have a public health emergency — for both non-bid and rural areas. Moreover, we certainly believe the public health emergency is going to last through the end of the year. And if the rule does not come out, or it does not appropriately address rural relief, then that’s something we will have to focus on through H.R. 2771.
Advancing H.R. 2771 continues to be a grassroots effort. The more co-sponsors that are garnered, the better. This means providers must continue urging their lawmakers and staff to co-sponsor the bill.
Now, with a new Congress, H.R. 2771 will lapse, and we will have work with the new Congress to introduce the bill again. That is why today’s grassroots effort continues to be important; when you’re looking out over the next several months, this bill will still exist in Congress. We must be prepared so that when that public health emergency relief ends, there will be a legislative vehicle to get us some relief in the non-bid areas — and that exists in H.R. 2771.
Tom Ryan is the president and CEO of the American Association for Homecare (Washington, D.C.), the industry's national association.