Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Our Fight for HME in Washington Takes Many Shapes

A strong voice in Washington is necessary to combat the continued regulatory and legislative battles for homecare – as well as new issues which crop up like the changes from CMS to the 2017 fee schedule for stationary oxygen. AAHomecare is your champion in the halls of Congress and the offices at CMS. We are leading the charge on policy and advocacy in a variety of ways, and one of those is through the use of strong media placements. In 2016, more than seven million people were reached with the positive message of homecare and the detrimental effects of the bidding program.

While the association will do everything in our power to be a strong voice on these issues, having the opportunity to continue working with the media to share provider’s stories helps support the work of industry lobbyist and builds on the education we are providing lawmakers.

These are just a few examples from October alone, of providers and professional healthcare reporters who understand this issue and are reaching out to lawmakers through the power of print:

In addition, our media outreach efforts led to positive editorials in the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Janesville Gazette (Wisc.), Speaker Paul Ryan’s hometown paper.

One of the ways we support the media efforts is through our Stand Up for Homecare campaign. As Jeffrey Hall, President and CEO of Reliable Medical Supply explains, “If you’re headed to Medtrade then you should be attending the American Association for Homecare event “Stand up for Homecare.” When you purchase your tickets to this great event you are not only buying an opportunity to meet knowledgeable industry leaders, you’re supporting the AAH continued efforts to fight our battles in Washington. Our organization looks forward to this event every Medtrade.”

Won’t you join Reliable Medical Supply and other leaders at this event and support the continued efforts to fight our battles in Washington? These stories in local and national news are making a difference in our fight for fair reimbursement and against regulatory overreach. Learn more about the Stand Up for Homecare campaign and how AAHomecare fights for you.

To share your story and help AAHomecare explain the effects of regulatory overreach and competitive bidding on HME providers and patients, please contact Tilly Gambill at or fill out the online form. Please be assured that all requests for confidentiality will be maintained, and that we will seek prior approval for using any material in media outreach or editorials.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

What's Next? - A Message From AAHomecare's President

As we start the New Year, with a new Congress just getting settled in and a new Presidential Administration beginning in just a couple days, AAHomecare has hit the ground running to ensure we can build on last year’s legislative and regulatory successes and capitalize on potential opportunities for even better public policy outcomes for HME in 2017.  I’d like to give you a quick rundown on what we’ve been focusing on at the start of the year to make that happen.

Rural O2 Payment Policy – As we've recently reported, AAHomecare has asked CMS to reconsider their changes to the 2017 fee schedule for stationary oxygen, resulting from the misguided combination of a 2006 offset balancing rates for portable and stationary oxygen with bidding-derived pricing for rural providers.  While we’ve continued to attempt to engage CMS on this issue, we are now reaching out to Capitol Hill to alert them to this issue and ask them to get involved and are also planning media/PR outreach on the issue if it not quickly resolved.

Competitive Bidding Program – Last year’s success in getting a measure of relief for rural providers for July through December of 2016 will certainly be welcomed by providers when CMS finally announces a refund process (more on that in a moment), but a longer-lasting solution is critically needed.  While our champions on Capitol Hill have expressed their willingness to take up the fight for fairer rural relief policy in the 115th Congress, we’re all too aware of how slowly that process can move.  To that end, we brought in a sub-group of AAHomecare’s Regulatory Council to explore and develop regulatory actions the new administration could take to provide relief for rural providers, especially given that the recent CURES legislation will require HHS to reissue payment regulations to take effect by the start of 2019.  

Reimbursements from Other Payers – We believe that other payers who base their rates on the Medicare fee schedule should provide commensurate retroactive relief for the July 1-Dec. 31 period, where applicable.  We are currently working on our messaging to make this case to TRICARE and Medicare Advantage plans.

Where’s the Refund? –  As I noted above, HME providers in rural and non-bid areas are anxiously awaiting word on the procedures and timing for the relief mandated in the CURES Act – it’s certainly a question that the AAHomecare staff has heard repeatedly from our members and other HME stakeholders.  We’ve pressed CMS to provide guidance as soon as they can, and you can be sure we’ll share that news with you as quickly as we get it.

We’re Just Getting Started – While AAHomecare helped deliver important gains for the HME community in 2016, we recognize that the HME industry still faces a reimbursement and regulatory environment that is causing many well-established companies to change their business models or shutter their operations – leaving patients and communities with less access to essential home medical equipment.  Be assured that the current AAHomecare team enters 2017 with a renewed commitment to improving the business environment for HME through continued advocacy work on Capitol Hill and at CMS, by building relationships with non-Medicare payers, and by exploring new approaches to reimbursement models for value-based approaches and emerging technologies.  I truly believe this will be our most productive and effective year yet, and I look forward to working with the AAHomecare membership and other HME stakeholders to make it happen. 

To learn more about the work of the American Association for Homecare, or to join us, please visit or contact Michael Nicol at