Monday, March 3, 2008

Nearly 350 Homecare Advocates Will Lobby Capitol Hill This Week

At the American Association for Homecare Washington Legislative Conference this week, hundreds of homecare advocates will be on Capitol Hill to lobby Congress to preserve patient access to durable medical equipment in the home. Champions in Congress are responding positively to the prospect of meeting with their constituents and have
begun sending “Dear Colleague” letters on competitive bidding, the first month purchase option and oxygen.

Competitive Bidding System Designed to Put Small Businesses Out of Business
Representatives Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) and Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) have written a “Dear Colleague” asking for signatures on a letter to the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services requesting information on the impact of the DMEPOS competitive bidding program on the nation’s small business community. They currently have 14 signatures and are requesting AAHomecare members’ help in obtaining more signatures. Download the congressional sign-on letter here to print.

First Month Purchase Option
Representative Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) and Sam Graves (R-Mo.) are distributing a Dear Colleague letter to members of the Small Business Committee asking them to sign a letter to the leadership and health subcommittee leadership of the House Ways and Means Committee. The letter expresses concerns about the potential elimination of the first month purchase option for power mobility devices (PMD) in this year’s Medicare package. The members explain that elimination of the first month purchase option would be especially harmful to small PMD suppliers and could cause many of them to end their participation in the Medicare program. AAHomecare encourages you to ask members of the Small Business Committee to sign on to this letter. View the Dear Colleague letter, congressional sign-on letter, and list of the members on the Small Business Committee.

Home Oxygen Therapy
Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kans.) have sent a letter to the Senate Budget Committee with 11 signatures. The letter urged them not to reduce reimbursement in the Medicare home oxygen therapy benefit. The letter explained that further payment reductions this year, coming on top of several recent cuts and an estimated 20 percent reduction that will take effect over the next several months under current law, could jeopardize care for some patients and make benefit reform much more difficult to achieve. (See letter to Senate Budget Committee)

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