WASHINGTON, DC – In the span of ten days, Capitol Hill sent two strong messages to HHS and CMS on the need to keep non-invasive ventilators out of the competitive bidding program. The June 18 House letter showed 180 legislators asking federal regulators to reconsider plans to add ventilators to the bidding program, citing severe potential patient impacts and noting that Medicare has never attempted to bid any items within its entire DME category of devices requiring frequent and substantial servicing. A similar Senate letter went to the Agencies on June 28, garnering an impressive 38 Senate signatures in just eight days’ time open.
These successful efforts demonstrate the still-growing grassroots advocacy capabilities of the HME community as well as the importance of developing strong working relationships with patient advocates and clinical groups that understand the critical importance of HME.
These letters will lend significant weight to our continuing engagement with HHS, CMS, and Congress to keep non-invasive ventilators out of the bidding program. Your work to build awareness through in-person meetings with legislators and staff, as well as through emails, calls, and efforts to get peers and patients involved, has again been proven to be the most important factor in moving the ball forward on Capitol Hill.
Building Support for Non-Bid Area Relief, O2 Reimbursement Policy, and CRT
The focus of HME grassroots efforts now shift to building support for other legislative priorities. We ask that you consider reaching out to your legislators if they are not already cosponsors on these active bills:
Non-Bid Area Relief & O2 Rural Reimbursement
HR 2771 “Protecting HOME Access Act of 2019”
- Current co-sponsors(31)
- The Ask: House members may contact the offices of Rep Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R—WA) (Republicans) or Rep Dave Loebsack (D—IA) (Democrats)
- Top Targets: See this list of 96 House members who co-sponsored HR 4229in the previous Congressional session who have not yet signed onto HR 2771. You can remind these legislators that they sponsored this similar legislation in the 115th Congress and that you are once again seeking their support.
- Issue Brief
CRT Manual Accessory Legislation
HR 2293 and S 1223 “Protecting Access to Wheelchairs Act of 2019”
- Current co-sponsors: House(63) and Senate (8)
- The Ask: House members may contact the offices of Rep John Larson (D—CT) (Democrats) or Rep Lee Zeldin (R—NY) (Republicans). Senators may contact the office of Senator Bob Casey (D—PA)
- Issue Brief
CRT Separate Benefit Legislation
HR 2408 “Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act of 2019”
- Current co-sponsors(26)
- The Ask: House members may contact the offices of Rep Jim Sensenbrenner (R—WI) (Republicans) or Rep Brian Higgins (D—NY) (Democrats)
- Issue Brief
The next few weeks are critical for building support on Capitol Hill before the August recess period and for making plans to see your legislators when they are back home. Email Gordon Barnes at email@example.com for contact information for Congressional staff handling healthcare issues and for who to contact to schedule an in-district meeting during August.