Tuesday, May 27, 2008

125 U.S. Representatives and Cleveland Plain Dealer Urge Delay in Bidding

125 U.S. Representatives and Cleveland Plain Dealer Urge Delay in Bidding
What do 160 homecare advocates do when they descend on the nation’s capital? Collect signatures from as many U.S. Representatives as possible to help delay competitive bidding and continue educating members of Congress on the issues the industry is facing. This was one of the objectives of the May 21 Medicare Bidding Fly-In, organized by the American Association for Homecare.

Thursday, May 22 was the deadline for getting Representatives in the House to sign on to a letter urging a one-year delay in the bidding program for home medical equipment. The sign-on letter stated, “Our overall concern is focused on the implementation of the program thus far and its implications for Medicare beneficiaries receiving high quality health care.”

Efforts to get signatures included visits on Capitol Hill, calls, and e-mails. Unofficial numbers show more than 125 U.S. Representatives agreed to sign on to the letter – which is a terrific accomplishment for a one-week timeline.

Also on May 21, the House Small Business Subcommittee on Rural and Urban Entrepreneurship held a hearing on “Competitive Bidding for Durable Medical Equipment.” Small providers representing the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare), the North Carolina Association for Medical Equipment Services (NCAMES), and VGM were among the organizations that presented testimony. Casey Hite, vice president of Aeroflow Healthcare in Asheville, North Carolina spoke on behalf of AAHomecare and NCAMES saying, “The Medicare bidding program is poorly conceived and fundamentally flawed. The program is showing many of the serious breakdowns that the American Association for Homecare predicted, based on the failure of CMS to recognize and account for the way that home medical equipment is provided to Medicare beneficiaries.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SircttIXVIw&feature=PlayList&p=0DAE30FDF52E37FC&index=17)

To hear testimony from this hearing visit: http://www.house.gov/smbiz/

An editorial on Sunday, May 18, in the Cleveland Plain Dealer which endorsed a delay in the Medicare bidding program, also helped fuel momentum. While taking the view that the competitive bidding may be the shape of things to come in Medicare, the editorial stated that, “A delay, at least, in awarding contracts is warranted. A thorough review should cover whether the specifications for suppliers are reasonable, whether the bidding, selection and appeals processes are fair, and whether streamlining to suit the government also serves patients well enough.”

The text of the editorial can be found at: http://www.cleveland.com/editorials/plaindealer/index.ssf?/base/opinion/1211044516121880.xml&coll=2.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

More than 125 Homecare Advocates will Lobby Capitol Hill on May 21

At least 125 homecare providers and other advocates are expected to participate in the American Association for Homecare Medicare Bidding Fly-In on May 21, 2008 in Washington, D.C. There is room for plenty more. This is an extremely important opportunity to delay the Medicare bidding program so Congress can take a careful look at the entire concept.

Participants have been asked to schedule their own meetings for this event, in coordination with their state association. By posting your requests and confirmed appointments, you will allow others from your state to know with whom and when appointments will be held. If you see a colleague has already begun the scheduling process with your legislators’ offices, please contact them and work together to book one appointment with each legislator’s office rather than multiple homecare meetings.
States with appointments scheduled are listed below. Please post a comment to update this information.

10:00 AM – Senator Mel Martinez, Russell Building-356 FL
Between 1:00 – 2:00 – Congressman Kendrick Meek, Longworth-1039 FL
11:30 Sam Johnson (Jeannie Assistant) - Texas

10:00 am, Saxby Chambliss / Justin Clay (416 Russell)
10:30 am, Broun, Paul C., Georgia, 10th (2104 Rayburn)
11:00 am, Westmoreland, Lynn A., Georgia, 3rd (1213 Longworth)
11:00 am, Linder, John, Georgia, 7th/ Kelly Kurtz (1026 Longworth)
11:45 pm, Price, Tom, Georgia, 6th / Emily Henehan (424 Cannon)
1:45 pm, Johnny Isakson/ Francie Powers (120 Russell)
2:30 pm, Johnson, Henry C. "Hank" Jr., Georgia, 4th/ Scott Goldstein (1133 Longwowrth)
3:30 pm, Deal, Nathan, Georgia, 9th (2133 Rayburn)

George Kucka is scheduling appts.
3:30 p.m., Senator Bayh
12:30 p.m., Senator Lugar
2:00 p.m., Representative Visclosky
2:00 p.m., Rep Steve Buyer (not sure of Rep Buyer is available...still working)
3:00 p.m., Rep Joe Donnelly (Rep Donnelly is NOT available)

10:00am, Rep Ed Whitfield with Jeff Mortier (Cong Whitfield is NOT available)
10:30am, Rep. Ron Lewis
11:30am, Rep Ben Chandler with Jennifer Prather (Cong Chander MAY BE available…still working)
2:30pm, Rep. Hal Rodgers
3:00pm, Senator Mitch McConnell with Scott Raab (Senator McConnell is NOT available)
4:30pm, Rep John Yarmuth with Congressman Yarmuth
Pending- Rep. Geoff Davis and Sen. Jim Bunning

Kathleen Sheehan at the Maryland National Capital Homecare Association is scheduling appts. (202-309-4919 or ksheehan@mncha.org) Go to www.mncha.org for updated list of appointments. RSVP for all Hill meetings to thess8@jhmi.edu.

11am Sarbanes, John P.(D-MD-3)202-225-4016 CHOB 426
Staff: Delicia Reynolds
11:30 Ruppersberger, C.A. Dutch (D-MD-2) 202-225-3061 LHOB 1730
Staff : Walter Gonzales
10 am Hoyer, Steny H (D-MD-5) 202-225-4131 LHOB 1705
Staff : Elizabeth Thomas
1 pm Cummings, Elijah E. (D-MD-7) 202-225-4741 RHOB 2235
Staff: Danielle Grote

Requests in for:
Wynn, Albert Russell (D-MD-4) 202-225-8699 RHOB 2470
(Rep. Wynn leave office end of May)
Staff : Erika Appell
Van Hollen, Chris (D-MD-8) 202-225-5341 LHOB 1707
Staff: Ray Thorn
Gilchrest, Wayne T. (R-MD-1) 202-225-5311 RHOB 2245
Staff : Kathryn Godburn
Bartlett, Roscoe G. (R-MD-6) 202-225-2721 RHOB 2412
Staff: Faye Powers
Senator Mikulski Barbara A. (D)Hart -503 (202) 224-4654
Staff: Ellen Marie Whelan
Senator Cardin, Ben (D) Hart -509 (202) 224-4524
Staff: Priscilla Ross

10:00 a.m., Lindsey Schwartz with Knollenberg's office (2349 Rayburn)
10:30 a.m., Lindsey Beck, L.A. for Dale Kildee (2107 Rayburn)
12:30 p.m., Kristina Ko, Carl Levin (269 Russell)
2:30 p.m., Katherine Haley in Pete Hoekstra's office (2234 Rayburn)
4:00 p.m., Andrew Hawkins in Mike Rogers office (133 Cannon)

New England:
Robin Boardman of NEMED is scheduling appts.
9:00 Rep. B. Frank, 2252 Rayburn
11:30 CT Sen.Chris Dodd 404B Hart
12:00 CT Sen.Joe Lieberman 706 Hart
12:45 CT Rep.J Larson 1005 Longworth
1:30 CT Rep.Chris Murphy 501 Cannon
2:00 ME Rep. Tom Allen 1127 Longworth
2:30 MA Rep. Rich Neal 2208 Rayburn
3:15 MA Rep. Ed Markey 2108 Rayburn

New York:
Appointments (per Carol Napierski, NYMEP)

10:00 a.m. - Rep. Louise Slaughter, Michelle Adams (staffer), 2469 Rayburn
10:00 a.m. - Rep. Gary Ackerman, Jared Frost (staffer), 2243 Rayburn
10:00 a.m. - Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, Jill Greco (staffer), 120 Cannon
10:30 a.m. - Rep. Jose Serrano, Munir Madyun (staffer), 2227 Rayburn
11:00 a.m. - Rep. Brian Higgins, Matthew Fery (staffer), 431 Cannon
11:00 a.m. - Rep. John Hall, Michael Apfel (staffer), 1217 Longworth
11:00 a.m. - Rep. Vito Fossella, Ryan Mckee (staffer), 2453 Rayburn
11:30 a.m. - Rep. Jerrold Nadler, Jillian Youngblood (staffer), 2334 Rayburn
12:30 p.m. - Sen. Charles Shumer, Meghan Taira (staffer), 313 Hart
12:30 p.m. - Rep. Steve Isreal, Karen Agostisi (staffer), 432 Cannon
1:00 p.m. - Rep. Maurice Hinchey, Tera Sabag (staffer), 2431 Rayburn
1:30 p.m. - Rep. Michael Arcuri, 327 Cannon
2:00 p.m. - Sen. Hillary Clinton, Ann Gavaghan (staffer), 476 Russell
2:00 p.m. - Rep. Tim Bishop, Joanna Serra (staffer), 225 Cannon
2:00 p.m. - Rep. Thomas Reynolds, Kelly Dickson (staffer), 332 Cannon
2:30 p.m. - Rep. Peter King, Alexandra Valenti (staffer), 436 Cannon
3:00 p.m. - Rep. Yvette Clarke, Bridgette Dehart (staffer), Jehmal Hudson (staffer), 1029 Longworth
3:30 p.m. - Rep. Randy Kuhl, Karen Livingston (staffer), 1505 Longworth
3:30 p.m. - Rep. John McHugh, Mike Holland (staffer), 2366 Rayburn
3:30 p.m. - Rep. Nydia Velazquez, Max Trujillo (staffer), 2466 Rayburn
4:00 p.m. - Rep. Edolphus Towns, Julie Rones (staffer), 2232 Rayburn
4:00 p.m. - Rep. Elliot Engel, Emily Gibbons (staffer), 2161 Rayburn
11:30 a.m. - Rep. Michael McNulty David Torian (staffer), 2210 Rayburn
5:00 p.m. - Rep. Joseph Crowley, Eli Kogan (staffer), 2404 Rayburn

North Carolina:
1:15AM - Congressman David Price
10:30AM - Danielle HOH for Congressman Melvin Watt
1:00PM - Congressman Etheridge
2:00PM - Casey Murphy HOH for Senator Dole
2:30PM - Jennifer Mundy HOH for Congressman Patrick McHenry
3:00PM - Jane Miller HOH for Congressman Howard Coble
3:30PM - Heather Parsons HOH for Congressman Brad Miller
3:30 pm w/ Jen Rubino, Sen. Burr, 217 Russell

Kam Yuricich of KAMESA is scheduling appts.
10:00 a.m. Betty Sutton (1721 Longworth)
1:00 p.m., Steve LaTourette (2371 Rayburn)
2:30 p.m., Tim Ryan (1421 Longworth)
3:15 p.m., Steve Chabot (129 Cannon)
4:00 p.m., Dennis Kucinich (2445 Rayburn)
John Boehner- request for appt.
(other Members will be called on the 21st)

Kevin Gouy of United Seating and Mobility is scheduling appts. (503-929-8255, kgouy@unitedseating.com)
Sen. Wyden- request for appt.
Sen. Smith- request for appt.
Rep. Wu- request for appt.
ALSO- possible meetings with Senator Brownback of Kansas and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

10:30 a.m., John Myers (Sen.Specter)
11:50 a.m., Rep. Jason Altmire
1:00 p.m., Morna Murray/Gillian (Sen. Casey)
1:30 p.m., Ken DeGraff/Cong. Mike Doyle
3:00 p.m.,Mike Mathis/Whitney Morton (Cong. Murtha)
4:30 p.m., Cong. English/Kelly Lavin

Gene Ray of Southern Diabetic Supply Co. is scheduling appts. (drhgene@southerndiabetic.com)
11:00 a.m., Steve Cohen
3:30 p.m., Hunter Bethea with Sen. Corker’s office
2:30 p.m., Curtis Swagger with Sen. Alexander’s office
Congressman Blackburn- request for appt.

C.W. Bell M.S.B. Inc is scheduling appts. (candbbell@yahoo.com)
1:00 p.m., Representative Kay Granger
1:00 p.m., Rep. Joe Barton, meeting with Aarti Shah (Senior Legislative Asst.)
11:00 a.m., John Cornyn
10am appt with Martin Sobel, Healthcare Advisor for Senator Cornyn.
Faxed a request to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison's office.

Tom Inman is scheduling appts.
2:30 p.m., Rob Wittman
3:00 p.m., Bobby Scott

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Industry’s Impact on Capitol Hill

As the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee gears up to hear from the American Association for Homecare and CMS on the DME competitive bidding program today, their reading material will include articles in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.

The Post quotes Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) talking about oxygen patients lobbying Congress, saying, “It’s a gimmick the providers have used for years. I think it's hokey… I like to think we are able to make an objective decision based on facts. I don't want to make these decisions based on an emotional appeal."

However in the Wall Street Journal Stark says he’d like to see the competitive bidding program “scrapped.” He feel action will be taken again the program but is uncertain of whether it will be done in 2008 or 2009. For the homecare industry and Medicare patients they serve, the question of timing is a big issue and they will continue to lobby Congress until concerns for the program are addressed.

We encourage you to visit these articles and post comments online.
Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/05/AR2008050502302.html

Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/public/article_print/SB121003642419969439.html

Wall Street Journal Blog: http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2008/05/06/vendors-fight-medicare-on-competitive-bids-for-medical-equipment/?mod=WSJBlog

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Coordinate Your Capitol Hill Appointments for May 21 Fly-In

A nationwide grassroots effort is underway to suspend Round One of the competitive bidding program. Letters, calls, e-mails and visits with members of Congress are all part of the strategy to raise awareness about the flaws with this program.

On May 21, 2008 all of these efforts will be redoubled as the homecare industry visits Washington D.C. for the AAHomecare Medicare Bidding Fly-In. All efforts will be focused on lobbying Congress to instruct Medicare to suspend Round One of the competitive bidding program and delay Round Two. To register for this event visit: http://www.aahomecare.org/associations/3208/files/MedicareFly-In%20May%2021RegForm.pdf

Participants have been asked to schedule their own meetings for this event, in coordination with their state association. If you are attending the Fly-In and have already begun setting up your appointments, please post the key information on this blog to let others from your state know with whom and when the appointment will be held. If you see a colleague has already begun the process with your legislator, please contact them and work together to avoid dual efforts.

In your posted comment which will appear below, please include your name, contact info, whether you have requested an appointment or have secured an appointment. and with which member of Congress.