AAH launches survey to dig deeper into access issues

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Friday, July 28, 2017

WASHINGTON – Industry stakeholders are reaching past the ranks of HME providers to gauge the impact of competitive bidding, as they continue to push for reforms to the program.

AAHomecare is working with Dobson DaVanzo & Associates, a well-respected healthcare research group, on a new surveythat will seek input from not only HME providers but also Medicare beneficiaries, caregivers and other healthcare professionals like hospital discharge planners.

“We’ve made headway at CMS, certainly, with Tom Price, but there continues to be (pushback) from some career folks that do not believe there’s an access issue,” said Tom Ryan, president and CEO of the association. “We believe it would be beneficial to get a third-party group like Dobson DaVanzo to do a non-biased survey, reaching out to discharge planners and others who have patients affected by bidding.”

AAHomecare has created a survey steering committee: Members held an initial call last week, and plan to hold weekly calls going forward. The committee is currently developing a matrix of providers who have already signed up to participate and working on question sets.

Discharge planners are uniquely situated to see firsthand the problems caused by competitive bidding, says provider Gary Sheehan, a committee member.

“I do think there is real value in that it’s a systems issue for discharge planners that they are dealing with every single day,” said Sheehan, CEO of Sandwich, Mass.-based Cape Medical Supply. “The discharge planner can cite case after case after case of having real problems getting basic medical equipment to discharge patients back into the community into a lower cost environment.”

The survey will also look at both urban and rural markets.

“I think what will come out of it is a really comprehensive look at the access issues, where they are and also some of the cost that the system is incurring because of these access issues,” said Sheehan.

AAHomecare hopes to have the survey live in the next two or three weeks, with a report from Dobson DaVanzo in three months.

“We’re doing our best to get this going as quickly as possible, because timing is everything,” Ryan said.