Friday, January 27, 2012

Washington Legislative Conference Comes at a Critical Time – It’s Now or (Maybe) Never

With an urgent need to show force on Capitol Hill, conference fees now free for AAHomecare members, $100 for non-members.

Believing that the homecare community must demonstrate a strong showing on Capitol Hill February 15 and 16, AAHomecare has today offered to pay the full registration fee for all attendees from member companies at the 2012 Washington Legislative Conference. The Association will completely underwrite the registration cost (which covers food, hotel meeting space, and other Conference expenses) for all members thereby eliminating the registration fee – a per-person savings of $245.

In other words, the new registration fee for AAHomecare members is $0 from now through the date of the Conference.

At the same time, the Association will subsidize the costs for non-member companies to attend. Using a contribution from its reserve account, AAHomecare is able to reduce the registration fee by 72 percent bringing it down to $100 per attendee.

All 2012 attendees who already registered will be eligible for a refund for the difference between the amount already paid and the new registration fee. To receive your refund, complete the refund request form.

Note: All refunds will be processed after the completion of the Washington Legislative Conference.

Find complete conference information & registration forms here. Please note: even though registration is now free for AAHomecare members, we still need you to fill out the registration form if you are planning to attend.

“We’re at a critical juncture when it comes to Congress giving full consideration to the Market Pricing Program as a credible alternative to the current bidding program,” stated AAHomecare Chairman Joel Marx, who is Chairman of Medical Service Company in Cleveland. “The homecare community needs to have a strong turnout on Capitol Hill in mid-February. If HME companies fail to make the case, we’re going to have a difficult time stopping the bidding program from moving forward with full force into Round Two.”

In addition to fighting to replace the bidding program, Conference participants will be armed with information and position papers on audits, power mobility, and other key policy areas for the HME sector. The Association staff will schedule your visit with congressional offices and provide talking points and leave-behind materials.

The Wednesday, February 15 schedule will feature remarks by Congressmen Bruce Braley (D-Iowa), Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), and Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.) and a panel discussion on competitive bidding with University of Maryland economics professor Peter Cramton, Ph.D. and Brett Katzman, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Economics, Finance, and Quantitative Analysis at Kennesaw State University. There will also be time devoted to preparation for the following day's lobbying sessions.

“It’s important for the homecare community to remember that the Washington Legislative Conference is not about AAHomecare,” said Marx. “It’s about voicing the concerns of HME providers and manufacturers on Capitol Hill and getting Congress to help us. The AAHomecare lobbyists who are in Washington full time can only do so much. At least once a year (and ideally more often), everyone who works in homecare must come to Washington and help us push the message of homecare. If people aren’t willing to lend that support and step up to fight for what their businesses need, then homecare is going to have a difficult time competing with all the other health care sectors that are fighting for a shrinking reimbursement pool from Medicare.”

”While we don’t make a profit on the Legislative Conference and are always lucky to break even, we didn’t want registration fees to stand in the way of people coming to Washington D.C. in February,” said Tyler Wilson, AAHomecare president and CEO. “The registration fee covers the cost for the Association to rent hotel meeting space and rooms for Capitol Hill events, as well as for meals, receptions, and related expenses. The registration fee, the sponsorship support and the revenues from exhibitors all go toward covering the cost of the two-day event in Washington. It’s common to underestimate the cost of conducting a Washington event. AAHomecare tries to run the Legislative Conference as economically as possible.”

“The Association decided it was the right time to pull funds from the organization’s reserve account to help subsidize the cost for everyone to attend the Conference," continued Wilson. "We’re glad we’re able to completely underwrite the cost for AAHomecare members and heavily subsidize the registration fee for non-members.”

"This is an opportunity for the HME sector to demonstrate the importance of preserving access to home medical equipment and services. We look forward to big participation in Washington on February 15-16.”

Special thanks to our event sponsors and sector partners (see a complete list of sponsors and exhibitors). Their generous support for the Legislative Conference allows us to hold down registration costs and helps more HME advocates to participate each year.

And special thanks to our newest sponsor, Wright & Filippis, who is hosting the Conference Welcome Reception on February 15.

No comments: