Thursday, September 24, 2009

Newsday Prints AAHomecare Letter Correcting Misleading Statements About Home Medical Equipment

The print edition of New York’s Newsday today included AAHomecare’s response to a Sept. 16 story, “Obama: Congress should let panel set Medicare payments.” The story included several misleading statements about home medical equipment and services such as wheelchairs.

The article suggested that lobbying has prevented reductions in Medicare payments for these items. The reality is that Congress delayed a competitive bid program in 2008 after countless problems in the bid process emerged and it became clear that the vast majority of providers would have been denied permission to continue serving Medicare beneficiaries, even if they agreed to new, lower reimbursement rates. The home medical equipment sector took a 9.5 percent cut this year in order to pay for every dime the bidding program had been projected to save taxpayers.

Also, the data used in the August 2009 Inspector General report on wheelchair payments, mentioned in the article, is from 2007. Since then, Medicare rates have dropped dramatically. The report focused on acquisition cost to the supplier, which is only a fraction of the total cost of providing a properly adjusted power wheelchair to Medicare beneficiaries in their homes. That study perpetuates the myth that a person with MS, spinal cord injury, or other serious condition can order a power wheelchair and have it dropped off the back of a truck at their front door, ready to use.

Home-based care made possible by durable medical equipment and services is part of the solution to rising healthcare costs. It’s not the problem.

To read the article AAHomecare responded to, visit:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Senator Cantwell Supports Homecare

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) spoke about homecare during the first day of mark-up of the America’s Healthy Futures Act of 2009, a major health care reform bill currently being considered by the Senate Finance Committee. Cantwell said, “So there are going to be many areas of this legislation where I’m going to be fighting for more cost control measures. I am going to be fighting to change the way we fund long-term care. It’s ridiculous that we continue to focus on putting people in nursing homes, instead of community-based care, when its 70 percent cheaper. We ought to give the senior citizens of America the chance to stay in their home as long as possible. And to give them a place to get the health care they deserve."

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fox News Medical Correspondent Advocates for the Wheelchair Benefit

Taking away a Medicare beneficiaries ability to obtain a motorized wheelchair through Medicare is “absolutely outrageous,” says Fox News Medical Contributor, Dr. Marc Siegel. “Insurance is not care.”

Dr. Siegel spoke about the importance of keeping this benefit available for beneficiaries because not everybody has someone to push them around in a wheelchair. He says, “69% of those who need the motorized wheelchair are not even the elderly, they are the disabled and they can’t speak for themselves they need us to speak for them.”

The segment was in response to Senator Claire McCaskill’s (D-MO) recommendation to cut payments to power wheelchairs. Dr. Siegel said he is “worried our lawmakers have no education on what is actually happening in health care.”

To view the segment with Dr. Siegel, visit

Monday, September 14, 2009

Watch Replay of C-SPAN Appearance by Joel Marx Discussing Value of HME

AAHomecare board member Joel Marx discussed the impact of health care reform on home medical equipment on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal" program on Saturday, September 5. He also talked about how health care reform affects his business and clients, and recent claims about the industry. Marx, CEO of Medical Service Companies in Cleveland appeared as a representative of the American Association for Homecare. See: