AAHomecare ‘encouraged’ after meeting with Verma

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

WASHINGTON – Industry stakeholders had a meeting with Seema Verma, the new CMS administrator, on April 4, and they were impressed.

The top topic at the meeting: industry efforts to fix the competitive bidding program.

“Administrator Verma demonstrated impressive familiarity with HME industry concerns about the bidding program, and others in attendance were well-acquainted with the proposals in letters regarding the bidding program (that) AAHomecare recently sent to HHS Secretary Price, which provided a good baseline for discussions,” AAHomecare stated in a bulletin to members.

Tom Ryan, president and CEO of AAHomecare; Jay Witter, senior vice president of public affairs for the association; Cara Bachenheimer, senior vice president of public relations for Invacare; and Thomas Baker, an attorney recently engaged by the association, met with Verma and Deputy Administrator Demetrios Kouzoukas, as well as several HHS and CMS staffers.

At the meeting, stakeholders also discussed their support for protecting reimbursement for accessories for complex wheelchairs and for oxygen therapy.

“We believe both the tone and substance of the discussion shows that the new leadership at HHS and CMS understands industry concerns,” AAHomecare stated. “In particular, we’re encouraged by Administrator Verma and her colleagues expressing their interest in working with us to come up with solutions on these issues that will allow us to continue to meet the needs of the millions of individuals who depend on home medical equipment and related services.”

In March, AAHomecare sent a letter to HHS Secretary Price with several recommendations on how to fix the bid program, including using market clearing pricing to determine the single payment amount for any item included in the program, and using historical claims data to determine supplier capacity.