It's time to connect with Capitol Hill.
While Capitol Hill buildings remain closed to the public and many staffers continue to work from home, Congressional offices are getting back to comparatively normal operations. With that in mind, AAHomecare is encouraging providers to connect with House and Senate healthcare staff to tell them about your company’s work during the COVID-19 pandemic and ask for support on HME policy priorities.
“Congressional staff have adapted well to holding meetings over Zoom or other virtual meeting technologies,” notes Jay Witter, AAHomecare senior vice president for public policy. “I’ve met with about 30 offices since February, and staff are ready to engage on healthcare issues such as the ones that matter to the HME community.”
“Taking the time to meet with your legislators now will pay significant dividends as we prepare for the next round of advocacy for sustainable Medicare reimbursement policy and other priorities,” adds Witter. “Making a connection to start or re-establish a relationship with Hill staff this Spring will help you make a stronger impression when we will potentially need support on legislation or Congressional pressure on CMS later this year.”
Here are key points/issues to consider for your discussion with Capitol Hill healthcare staff:
Discuss your company’s work serving patients and helping reduce the stress on hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Note how provider relief fund payments and the pause on the Medicare sequester have helped your company, if applicable. Lay out the challenges you are still facing and potential long-term impacts on your company going forward.
Ask for your member of Congress to request that CMS release the DME Proposed Rule so your company and the HME industry can prepare for any significant changes in Medicare policy. Let staff know that you will seek their support for legislative action to ensure sustainable reimbursement policies if the Proposed Rule falls short in that regard.
If you serve patients in rural or other non-bid areas, talk about the need for additional reimbursement support for those markets.
Ask for support in waiving potential the 4% Medicare “PAYGO” cuts for 2022 triggered by the recent $1.4 billion COVID-19 relief plan.
“These meetings are especially important given the significant number of new Congressional healthcare staff on the Hill through regular turnover as well as the 70 new members elected this year,” concludes Witter. “Your outreach helps build awareness on our priority issues and establish credibility for our industry on Capitol Hill. Whether you’re an experienced advocate or just starting to get engaged in HME policy, this is a great time to reach out.”
Email Gordon Barnes at email@example.com for contact info for Congressional healthcare staffers and additional assistance in reaching out to your legislators – and please let him know of any meetings you schedule.