VGM, Providers to Testify at Regulatory Fairness Hearings

Next step in grassroots push to speak before SBA will occur on May 16 at University of South Maine.

The VGM Group’s government relations team is organizing HME professionals to attend the next Small Business Administration’s regulatory fairness hearing on May 16 at the University of South Maine to share their concerns about CMS policies.

The effort is part of a grassroots campaign to advocate for the HME industry by testifying at the SBA's hearings in hopes of convincing the administration that issues related to CMS policies pose a threat to small provider businesses, and that the administration should take these concerns to HHS and CMS in the hopes of making changes.

So far, more than 40 providers have joined the effort and voiced their concerns about issues facing the HME industry, such as rural DME access, competitive bidding, and audits. The SBA has met in three of the 10 regions and hosted hearings in West Virginia, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota. The May 16 hearing in Maine represents the latest opportunity for providers to make their case.

“The SBA’s National Ombudsman, Earl L. Gay, will be hosting the event for small-business owners in the New England region,” said John Gallagher, VGM’s vice president of Government Relations. “We are encouraging HME providers to attend the meeting and comment on unfair enforcement actions, government audits and regulations, and the effects they impose on your business and the patients you serve.”

The May 16 hearing will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time. Providers who are able to attend should RSVP with Emily Harken via email or phone at (866) 512-8465. To help providers speak at the hearings, Gallagher says VGM provides talking points to help providers submit comments, and VGM staff attend the hearings to help answer questions.

In addition to organizing providers for the hearings, VGM’s Government Relations team has also worked to clinch media coverage that has helped spread industry concerns via print and television.

“We feel confident that grassroots efforts like these are pivotal in having the national ombudsman share our stories and concerns with HHS and CMS,” Gallagher said. “Following each hearing, we’ve had additional conversations with the Office of the National Ombudsman. The stories that our members have shared in person have a significant impact with the agencies that have the power and influence to help HME providers.” 

Also, VGM members attending the organization's upcoming Heartland Conference will have an an opportunity to speak with the Yolanda Swift, SBA’s deputy ombudsman, on June 14. Swift will join a panel discussion that runs from 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Also, members can visit the Government Relations booth no. 96 to share their stories on how CMS policies are impacting their business.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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