Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Push Back When Congress Pushes Back

Homecare advocates are in grassroots mode and are sending letters by the thousands to members of Congress asking them to support H.R. 1717, the market pricing program bill, and this is a good thing. The AAHomecare “Action Center” has recorded over 9,000 letters sent to Congress since the bill was introduced.

One of the problems we are hearing is that advocates are receiving generic form letters, or the Representative or their staff is pushing back with incorrect responses and bad facts.

With July 1 coming quickly, we must increase the sense of urgency. We must push back to such responses and correct their misinformation. We can be firm and clear without being rude or disrespectful, but we must let Congress know that the current bidding program is bad policy and must be replaced with the sustainable market pricing process in H.R. 1717.

Advocates should respond promptly if they receive Congressional responses with statements showing that their Representatives clearly are uninformed. Responses should provide details of the impact of this program on beneficiaries. We know the program is flawed. We know the contracted suppliers are unable or unwilling to serve the market. We know the reimbursement rates are below cost.

So when lawmakers push back, we must also push back with urgency and inform them that when providers go out of business, it is patients who suffer. Access and quality will be drastically reduced when local providers stop working with Medicare or the contract winning providers are hundreds of miles away.

Congress still doesn’t get it and only you can help. Work hard to get cosponsors for H.R. 1717, and push back with urgency when necessary.

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