AAHomecare: Rural Relief Still Has a Chance

As July 1’s full rate cuts loom over rural providers, AAHomecare urges for continued grassroots advocacy as it might still secure a retroactive reform.

As the full national bid expansion cuts reach their July 1 implementation, a chance still exists to advace rural relief legislation that would retroactively fix the stiff reimbursement reductions, and industry adovcates are calling on providers to maintain grassroots support for industry legislative efforts.

While the Senate voted to approve the Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment Act of 2016, the House vote was a different story. A key group of influential members in the House were strongly opposed to the Medicaid pay-for in the Senate bill, and delayed voting on the House companion legislation.

That delay lasted long enough that PADME was eclipsed by the House sit-in over firearms legislation in the wake of the Orlando, Fla. nightclub massacre. This stalled out the House PADME vote prior to Representatives going into recess, leaving the July 1 cuts to go into implementation.

Despite the implementation, the American Association for Homecare says it is still engaged with lawmakers in hopes of passing rural relief legislation. The House returns from recess on July 5 and the Senate returns on July 6, and in the meantime, the association called on providers to press their lawmakers for a solution to an “impending crisis for providers and patients alike upon their return.”

“HME stakeholders need to continue to raise the volume on the issue to a point that moves the Senate and House to work together and find a way to either overcome the resistance to the pay-for from key House members, or find another solution that pauses these cuts until further study on their effects on beneficiaries can be properly assessed,” a statement from the association read.

The association acknowledged the shock and frustration providers might be feeling over the cuts and the House not voting before the July 1 implementation, but noted that the size of the cuts might motivate obstinate lawmakers in the lower chamber into action.

“The severity of the cuts and their impending arrival may ultimately help as we make our case on Capitol Hill,” AAHomecare noted in its statement. “There’s nothing like a crisis to help spur legislators to action; we need to make sure that we let the House and Senate know that these cuts are taking rural providers and patients to the precipice of disaster.”

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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