Providers Urged to Give August Lobbying Push a Boost

With potential legislation possibly on the horizon, HME advocates hope to set the stage with some concentrated lobbying during congressional recess.

Providers Urged to Give August Lobbying Push a Boost

Now that Senate and House lawmakers have returned to their district offices for the month-long August congressional recess, the American Association for Homecare and other industry advocates are urging HME providers to press their Representatives and Senators on the need to provide long-term competitive bidding relief for rural providers and those in non-bid areas.

Those HME businesses were hit hard by the national expansion of competitive bidding, as well as the oxygen claims “double dip,” which resulted in reimbursement for respiratory claims lower than competitive bidding rates on some items. While the CURES Act provided temporary relief from some elements of the national expansion, industry advocates argue that a more permanent fix is needed.

Hinting that legislation to that end could be introduced into congress as early as September, when lawmakers return to Capitol Hill, AAHomcare urged providers to contact their lawmakers and legislative staffs during the recess. The objective is to hopefully slate in-person meetings at lawmakers’ offices — and at the very least lobbying by phone — to clearly explain the problems facing rural and non-bid area providers, and urge their support for any nascent legislation that could address these problems.

Some sample lobbying language offered by AAHomecare:

“We are anticipating legislation to provide relief for rural and other non-bidding area providers and patients who continue to be severely impacted by recent drastic Medicare reimbursement cuts, as well as addressing a misguided regulatory policy that reduces payments for stationary oxygen in rural areas to below competitive bidding pricing in many cases.  When legislation is introduced this Fall, we ask that members of the House become original co-sponsors, and that Senators support efforts for similar relief in their chamber.”

In addition to the advocacy language, AAHomecare provided an issue brief on the issues facing rural and non-bid providers at http://bit.ly/2v2dRN4.

AAHomecare noted that as legislation is developed, individual issues might be addressed in a single bill, or via a larger bill. The association also underscored the fact that it is still working with HHS and CMS staff and leadership in hopes of effecting changes to the competitive bidding via regulatory changes.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Editor of HME Business.

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