As the HME industry is starting to feel the impact of the delta variant of COVID-19, the American Association for Homecare is assessing the situation and determining the next steps.
Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare, joined HMEB to answer a few quick questions about how the industry is starting to deal with Delta.
HMEB: With the delta variant really starting to make itself felt, are you starting to hear anything from providers about how it is impacting them? If so, what are you hearing?
Ryan: Providers remain focused on keeping their patients and employees as safe as possible. But there’s also concern that the longer this pandemic goes on, higher product costs and delivery delays fueled by strains on the global supply chain are going to be major stressors for our industry.
What needs to happen from a regulatory standpoint to help providers contend with the delta variant?
In the near term, prioritizing medical equipment and related components, as well as PPE, for expedited shipping and transportation would help providers better meet the demand for HME.
Do you think CMS (or whichever agencies are involved) will respond accordingly?
Federal healthcare agencies have done a remarkable job under very difficult conditions over the past year and a half. They can add to that record by helping keep as many patients as possible out of hospitals and nursing facilities through stronger support for HME and home-based care.
How about aid; do you think there’s a possibility we might see more states implement American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) as the delta variant spreads?
Using ARPA funds to strengthen HME would pay off for states in both the short term and going forward when the pandemic is finally behind us. State HME leaders need to make that case as they follow up on their funding requests.