SANDWICH, MA – This month saw the swearing in of the 117th Congress as well as a new Presidential administration. There remain a number of key Cabinet vacancies yet to be filled, many of which have a direct impact on reimbursement and regulation of HME providers. It remains critical for HME providers across the United States to stay attuned to activities in Washington DC, due to the outsized impacts that changes have on the health and vitality of our organizations.
The American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare) does a tremendous job monitoring movement of regulations and Congressional action in DC. As the vice chairman of the board, I have seen up close the steps AAHomecare has taken to shape legislation and the many successes they have earned for our industry over the last 12 months. Their actions were also pivotal to CMS releasing the bid data that came a short time ago. AAHomecare will continue to advocate for CMS to use that data to guide reimbursement decisions that create an equitable environment for HME companies to operate in, from here forward.
AAHomecare absolutely deserves and has earned your support. However, an investment in AAHomecare is not enough, and does not replace your responsibility to work to develop and maintain relationships with elected members of Congress, their staffs, and key agency representatives who have jurisdiction over HME. Invite them to your place of business, educate them on what you do, and help them understand your role in your patient’s lives.
Whether it’s a local state representative or a United States senator, we all need to work harder to get the message out about what we do and the value we provide. In my experience, equitable reimbursement for HME has never been a partisan issue between Democrats and Republicans.
It has always been an educational issue, between those representatives who understand what HME is and how we benefit the healthcare system at large, and those who don’t understand that and look at the HME spend-line item as an expense rather than as an investment. Get to know the members of the 117th Congress. Influence their thinking about HME’s place within the United States healthcare continuum. Your business, employees, patients, and partners will only be better off for it.
Gary Sheehan, MBA is president and CEO, Cape Medical Supply, Inc., Sandwich, Mass., and vice chairman of the AAHomecare Board. Sheehan is the 2017 recipient of the Van Miller Homecare Champion Award.