Industry Preps for Rural Relief Advocacy Effort

For the next 3 weeks, advocates and providers will work to convince lawmakers that they must get behind H.R. 4229’s provisions.

HME industry advocates are calling on providers to lobby their lawmakers over the next three weeks to support H.R. 4229’s rural relief provisions.

A possible omnibus spending bill is expected in late March, which the industry and its champions in Congress could use as a vehicle for H.R. 4229’s legislative language, according to the American Association for Homecare. Currently, 122 lawmakers have co-sponsored the bill. 

“… It’s critical that we continue to engage Capitol Hill to support these priorities — especially over the next three weeks,” a statement from the association read.

Introduced by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), H.R. 4229 provides relief for providers in rural and non-bid areas in two key ways:

  • It would effectively roll back the second round of cuts for non-bid area suppliers, effective retroactively to January 1, 2017 and through 2018.
  • It would address rate cuts caused by the misapplication of a 2006 budget neutrality offset balancing increased utilization for oxygen generating portable equipment with lower reimbursement for stationary equipment.

To help the industry target its efforts, AAHomecare created a spreadsheet that charts how every member of the House of Representatives has acted on behalf of the industry since 2016, as well as detailed information on the rural and non-competitive bidding population figures of each of those Representatives’ districts.

In terms of pro-HME actions, the spreadsheet shows whether or not a lawmaker:

  • Co-sponsored H.R. 4229.
  • Signed the June 2017 letter to CMS/HHS supporting various HME-related public policy positions, such as rural relief.
  • Signed the September 2017 letter to OMB asking it to release the Interim Final Rule on rural relief.
  • Co-sponsored H.R. 5210 during the 114th Congress.

“With 141 Congressional districts showing more than a 50 percent rural/non-CB population (and only 74 legislators representing those districts currently co-sponsoring H.R. 4229), there’s certainly ample opportunity to advocate to representatives who should be supporting rural relief efforts,” the AAHomecare statement read.

Providers with question about the spreadsheet should email Gordon Barnes at gordonb@aahomecare.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Editor of HME Business.

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