Grassroots Engagement is Making a Difference, but We Still Need to Expand our Advocacy Capacity
Source: American Association for Homecare
Thanks again to the 158 HME leaders who made this year’s Virtual Washington Legislative Conference a high-impact advocacy event. We’ve received a lot of good feedback on the meetings, with many attendees being impressed with the legislator or staffer’s awareness of our issues, especially with regards to our Medicare reimbursement priorities. It’s clear that our industry’s renewed commitment to persistent grassroots engagement has strengthened the understanding and support for HME on Capitol Hill.
At the same time, we also had some reports of recently elected members of Congress or new healthcare staffers who lack familiarity with the lasting impacts of the bidding program on HME and how Medicare reimbursement rates have become increasingly divorced from the cost and operational environment facing our industry. To quote one of our attendees who met with multiple offices: “They expressed that they had no idea that the Medicare system was in that much chaos.”
Our takeaway from the range of comments is two-fold: Our consistent and credible first-person grassroots engagement is getting through to Capitol Hill – and that we still need grow our roster of committed advocates and reach even more offices going forward. For those of you who haven’t been actively involved in HME advocacy efforts, it’s time to get off the bench and into the game.
One More Push for HR 6641
Our contacts on Capitol Hill are expecting a significant omnibus legislative package before the close of the 117th Congress at the end of this year. Our lobbying team has been working to set the stage for including provisions from HR 6641 in an omnibus package with members of Congress and key staffers on committees of jurisdiction for healthcare finance issues, especially the House Energy & Commerce Committee. Growing co-sponsorship support for the legislation is critically needed to improve the prospects for a meaningful increase for Medicare reimbursement in CBAs to be included in a final package.
Whether you’re new to advocacy efforts or you were part of our recent legislative conference, please ask your House member to join as an HR 6641 co-sponsor as soon as possible.
You can find everything you need to make the case in our Medicare Reimbursement Legislation Campaign Central page. If your member of the House isn’t on the current co-sponsor list, ask them to co-sponsor HR 6641 today.
Was your Representative one of the 95 House members who joined the October 2021 sign-on letter asking CMS to engage with HME stakeholders on Medicare reimbursements? These members should be especially good prospects to sign-on to HR 6641. You can remind them that they signed the letter last year (and thank them) and ask that they reaffirm that support for the sustainable reimbursements by co-sponsoring HR 6641. See full list of signers here.
Continuing CARES Act Relief in Non-Bid Areas
We are also working with our champions on the Senate side to continue the 75/25 blended rate for non-rural, non-CBA suppliers beyond the end of the COVID-19 PHE. Please contact your Senators’ healthcare staffers and ask that their office support continuing this relief in a year-end legislative package. This outreach is especially important if one of your Senators is a member of the Senate Finance Committee. You can share our related Issue Brief that lays out our position and “ask” on the 75/25 blended rate with your Senate staff contacts. This is an excellent issue for follow-up for your Senate meetings at the virtual legislative conference.
Contact Gordon Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need contact information for your Representative’s healthcare staffer or any other assistance in engaging your legislator.