Friday, July 29, 2016

Let Us Know How You're Doing in This Challenging Environment for HME

By Michael Nicol, senior director of membership services
(excerpt from Wednesday in Washington, July 27)

Faced with the very real and serious consequences of this latest round of reimbursement cuts, and the frustration of having multiple unanimously approved bills come up centimeters short of the goal line as the clock ran out, you are understandably numb. No one could blame you for wanting nothing more than to retreat, lick your wounds, and consider waving the white flag and making a graceful exit.  

Don't do it. You may be closer than you think.

Our War of Attrition
Skeptical as you may be right now, you can still outlast those who seek to wear this industry down with untenable reimbursement policies, onerous and redundant auditing requirements, and "one size fits all" approaches to your highly specialized and value-added industry by being methodical, resolute, and doggedly determined.

Since I began my tenure at AAHomecare, I've gained a genuine appreciation and respect for our member companies. You have been chasing a fairer, more stable, and more equitable business climate - some of you for decades - and you've somehow managed to hold off the forces that threaten the very existence of your business, even as the other side held all the cards. While we might not want to go so far as to characterize these forces as our "enemies"--there is most certainly a life-or-death, sink-or-swim battle going on here for many of you, and one of the weapons we can collectively use to win it is education.

That's exactly why I and my colleagues have begun reaching out directly to you to solicit your personal stories of how the most recent set of reimbursement cuts for rural providers is going to (or already has) negatively impacted your business and your ability to serve patients. This takes many forms. Patients losing access, independence, vital services, and compliance- and outcomes-enhancing product education...employees losing their jobs and communities their neighborhood businesses...the list goes on. And ironically, all of this may ultimately cost the health care system itself so much more money than what will purportedly be "saved" through these sweeping, short-sighted reimbursement cuts and related policies.

We Need to Hear from You! 
You are the people best equipped to specifically articulate the real-world impact of these cuts on our industry and the people it serves. And we are your association. I ask you to take some time to verbalize and share your stories with us, so that we may make the most compelling case possible with our Congressional champions as we mobilize once more in the coming weeks to package and pass a legislative solution in September.

If your company is experiencing difficult business decisions, not accepting new patients, or making other changes based on the January 1 and July 1 cuts, please let us know. Send these narratives to my colleague Tilly Gambill at, or feel free to reach out to me, my contact info is below.

Michael Nicol is the Senior Director of Membership Services for AAHomecare. He is available to help members become better connected with the Association through Councils, member programs and benefits, and answer general questions. Michael also accepts recommendations on potential new members. He can be reached at 202-372-0749 or

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Take the DME Cost Analysis Survey--Build Data to Show CB Rates Are Unsustainable!

All suppliers encouraged to participate in this Cost Study which will include multiple categories under threat by competitive bidding.

Today a national survey opened for suppliers to provide their fixed and variable costs for furnishing the services associated with supplying durable medical equipment. This Cost Study survey comes just one week after the highly disappointing news that Congress did not successfully pass the Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment Act. Now it is paramount that we provide a strong case for delay in September--our next opportunity for Congress to act. Strong data proving that the reimbursement rates derived from Medicare's bidding program are too low to cover the actual costs associated with providing equipment will help us on Capitol Hill and at CMS.

AAHomecare has commissioned Dobson & DaVanzo to conduct the study which will focus on selected products from oxygen, sleep, manual wheelchairs, hospital beds, and walkers. The more suppliers who complete the survey, the stronger this Cost Study data will be. Ultimately, this will be a tool to be shared with members of Congress, but it will also be available for companies to compare their costs of doing business to the average costs of the industry.

AAHomecare understands that the demands on your time as a business owner are great, but the effort you put into completing this survey is vital to our legislative pursuit in September. You will need 3-4 hours to complete the HME Industry Cost Analysis Study.

While limited Cost Study analyses have been performed in the past, this will be the first to consider DME in multiple categories that are under threat by competitive bidding pricing.

AAHomecare urges all suppliers to take part in this survey and help build the critical data needed to show that CB rates are truly unsustainable. “This is our opportunity to provide hard numbers industry wide to Congress and CMS to explain the depth of cuts we are receiving compared to the actual cost of doing business,” says Laura Williard, senior director of payer relations for AAHomecare. “This Cost Study will be one more arrow in the quiver to build support on Capitol Hill. A critical mass of participation will make the difference for this strong lobbying tool.”

Visit to learn more.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Help Engage Patients in Advocacy through People for Quality Care

Patients will pay the ultimate price for unsustainable rates and should have a voice in advocating for fairer policies. People for Quality Care is helping organize and amplify the voices of beneficiaries, family caregivers, and clinicians to Congress. Currently the group is focused on garnering Congressional support for a joint solution to Medicare’s competitive bidding program by July 15.

“Patients and family caregivers are already facing enough challenges as it is—the political process doesn’t need to be one more barrier that stands in their way of getting the quality medical equipment they need,” says Ashley Plauché, legislative partner for People for Quality Care and manager of government affairs for AAHomecare. “People for Quality Care guides them through the advocacy process, allowing their message to be heard by Congress. We ask all suppliers to get engaged, connecting their customers to these valuable resources.”

You can help by asking your customers to:

· Contact their Members of Congress, sending a customizable letter available at

· Share their story with their Medicare Complaint Hotline (800.404.8702) to relay their experience and challenges accessing medical equipment.

Visit for more information. You can also share a link to the website on your company site to help your patients access the site.