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

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