AAHomecare: Coming Weeks Critical for Rural Relief

Association calls on providers to drive advocacy for House and Senate bid expansion reform bills.

As the American Association for Homecare and various industry advocates prepare to lobby Congress during next week’s May 25-26 Washington Legislative Conference, those efforts will occur against a backdrop of concerted grassroots lobbying in support of rural bidding relief and bid ceiling reforms.

Given that time is of the essence — national bidding expansion’s full cuts will hit on July 1 — AAHomecare is urging providers to contact Congress throughout this week and the next in order to drive support for S.2736, the Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment Act, and H.R. 5210, the Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment Act. The bills have 27 and 52 co-sponsors, respectively, and need far more to drive

“Your outreach to Congress this week and next week to help build on the strong initial support for both Senate legislation will help drive home the importance of this legislation in advance of AAHomecare's Washington Legislative Conference Hill visits,” a statement from the association read.

AAHomecare advised that if providers haven’t yet made direct contact with their legislators, to call their Senators and Representatives (find contact information here), asking that they co-sponsor competitive bidding rural relief legislation (and reference the Senate or House bill number, as applicable).

“Let them know, in your own words, why you believe the next round (July 1) of bidding-derived cuts for rural and non-bid areas need to be delayed until the effects of the January 1 cuts can be fully assessed,” the AAHomecare statement added. “While you should always remain respectful and composed when talking with Congressional offices, please make sure Capitol Hill audiences recognize the urgent nature of this legislation for the HME community.”

The House bill currently has lop-sided support from Republicans, so AAHomecare highlighted the need to build Democrat support for the bill, and noted that providers’ efforts to lobby their Democratic Representatives will be “particularly valuable.” AAHomecare noted that of the co-sponsors of H.R. 4185, the bidding relief bill introduced last year, Democrats who supporting that legislation who are not yet H.R. 5210 co-sponsors include, Reps. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Bill Keating (D-Mass.), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-Ariz.), James Langevin (D-R.I.), Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), Chellie Pingree (D-Mass.), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) and Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.). 

Also, AAHomecare noted that while the recently introduced H.R. 5210 has received the most media attention of the two bills, S. 2736 still needs additional support, so providers should call their Senators and push that bill just as much.

The push can continue beyond next week, as well. After next week’s push on and off the Hill, the House and Senate will be on recess from May 30-June 3, which will give providers a solid opportunity to conduct in-person meetings while lawmakers are back in their districts.

Some additional resources from AAHomecare providers can use to lobby their Congress members:

 

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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