Industry Leaders Urge Grassroots Support

As advocates work with Congressional leadership, providers, patients urged to lobby Senators and Representatives to strike compromise by July 15.

Despite the welcome news that the House passed a version of rural relief this week, the industry remains in a mad dash to get legislation in front of President Obama by next week, and advocates are calling on providers to help.

While the House approved legislation to delay implementing the full national bid expansion cuts from July 1 to Sept. 30, it is not the same legislation that the Senate passed in late June.

This means that lawmakers in both chambers must settle on compromise legislation by July 15, before Congress leaves for its July 18 recess, which doesn’t end until Sept. 6. There are various methods that Senators and Representative can employ between now and July 15 to reach that compromise, according to Jay Witter, vice president of government affiars for the American Associations for Homecare.

“Both sides know the issue very well, and there are a number of things they can do procedurally to get this agreed upon and sent over to the President — and we’re encouraging them to do that,” he said.

That encouragement will need to be pronounced, given that there was a difference of opinion between House and Senate lawmakers on some of PADME’s provisions, which led to the delay between the Senate’s and House’s passage of rural relief, as well as the differing provisions. The key is for lawmakers to realize that now is the time for compromise.

“We need to make sure that they [lawmakers] somehow come together and understand that if they dig their heels in and walk away the industry will have really lost here,” said AAHomecare President and CEO Tom Ryan. “So the industry is urging and continues to urge the leadership from the House and the Senate to talk to each other.”

Bearing that in mind, Ryan and Witter called for “tremendous grassroots” on the part of providers in terms of urging not just their Senators and Representatives, but committee leaders, to agree on legislative language they can send to the President by July 15, before, as Witter noted, “it’s too late.”

“If they [lawmakers] continue to hear the noise and feel the pressure, they can get this worked out,” Ryan noted. “Who wants to advance legislation and then walk away without it being signed into law when the industry and beneficiaries are at stake here?”

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/dkopf/ and on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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