HR 284 is gaining co-sponsors thanks to efforts by HME providers and advocates nationwide but we need to keep pushing for more support. Ohio legislators are leading the way with 7 of our 16 representatives signed on to the House bill and 1 of 2 Senators supporting the Senate companion but more work needs to be done!
Given this program’s tremendous impact in our state and the threat of bids coming to non-bid/rural areas, we need everyone on the bill. Asking our elected officials to support a fix that makes companies stand by their bid and provides authority to enforce state licensure requirements is not a difficult ask! As a constituent and healthcare provider, you need to politely insist their support of these reasonable program changes.
There are currently five Senators co-sponsoring S. 148 and 37 House members co-sponsoring HR 284 as of today. Legislators who signed on to HR 4920 in the last Congress are “hot” prospects to support HR 284, essentially an identical bill. For Ohio, those on HR 4920 but not yet on HR 284 are Rep. Bob Latta and Rep. Jim Renacci so if you live or work in their district, please ask for the support.
Thank you to several Ohio legislators for their leadership on this issue who have signed on in support of HR 284: Rep. Bob Gibbs, Bill Johnson, Rep. Jim Jordan, Rep. Dave Joyce, Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. Steve Stivers, and Rep. Pat Tiberi (Lead sponsor)
OAMES has emailed many of the Ohio offices directly and we’ve also sent a letter to Sen. Brown on behalf of our members asking that he join fellow Ohio Senator Rob Portman to support S. 148.
Without binding bids, a DME supplier can simply walk away and not sign the contract. This has opened the door to “suicide” bid rates or suppliers who test the waters with little or no intention of accepting these rates and they’re never held accountable. HR 284 would prevent that practice. It’s imperative we move quickly in order to get these measures in place prior to implementation of Round 2 recompete bids.
As we’ve said from the beginning, the “competitive” bidding program is a problem for ALL providers and consumer regardless of where you live or your healthcare coverage. Years later, the program now threatens non-bid areas and our state Medicaid programs and commercial payers continue to use this program as evidence to justify cuts when in fact, it’s harming consumers today and is proven not to be sustainable. We need to get this legislation passed which would go a long way to correcting that dangerous trend.
In 2016, the current bid rates and the suicide rates will be expanded to all CMS suppliers, including those in rural areas. Everyone needs to be in this battle! Please act now if you haven’t already. Here are resources to help you:
If you have any questions or need assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact Kam Yuricichin the OAMES office at firstname.lastname@example.org.