Media Campaign Emphasizes HME’s Value

Working with Keybridge Communications, AAHomecare undertook a 9-month media drive that secured nearly 100 print, online and TV placements calling for market-based reimbursement.

A nine-month media campaign led by the American Association for Homecare touting the value of HME and the need for market-based reimbursement generated nearly 100 placements in print, online, and on television.

The association launched the campaign in April 2021 with partners Keybridge Communications and estimated that the coverage reached almost 130 million people across 26 states and the District of Columbia.

One of the high-profile elements of the campaign was an opinion column titled Outdated Medicare Rules Threaten Older Americans’ Access to Home Medical Equipment authored by AAHomecare’s vice chair, Josh Marx, that ran in healthcare-focused STAT News. The piece detailed the business environment the industry is facing and makes a case for sustainable rates.

“Medicare payments are now so out of line with the market that some of the remaining businesses providing older Americans with durable medical equipment will begin to fail, jeopardizing care for many people,” Marx wrote. “To stop that from happening, Medicare must apply meaningful rate adjustments for home medical equipment and related services that reflect the market realities equipment providers face today.”

Keybridge also pitched and helped develop a widely syndicated story by the influential non-profit outlet CalMatters that detailed the impacts of product shortages and higher prices and quoted multiple HME providers.

“(Shipping) containers have gone from $2,000 for rental to anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 for the same container,” Steve Yaeger, a Los Angeles-based medical supplier specializing in respiratory equipment, commented in the story. He added that his overhead had increased 25 percent since the beginning of the pandemic. “When you see the cost of goods go up like that, all of a sudden you’re figuring out, ‘Okay, are we even going to make any money this year?’”

Another two columns that were written by AAHomecare President and CEO Tom Ryan also discussed HME providers’ supply chain challenges and the cost structure the industry is facing. Initially written for InsideSources and the International Business Times, both columns were syndicated in dozens of print and online outlets.

Additionally, a Jan. 4 Spectrum News story with video included supply and price issues for HME suppliers in the Albany, NY area.

“This campaign shows how HME suppliers are supporting patients and caregivers despite unprecedented supply chain issues and reimbursement rates that are disconnected from the cost structure our industry faces,” Ryan said. “It’s connecting the value of home-based care and the need for market-based reimbursement with the faces of the millions of Americans who depend on HME. Raising awareness on these issues is critical as we get ready to move forward on Federal legislation to address reimbursement rates, as well as ongoing rate and network access initiatives in several states.”

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