The Clock Is Running
With more than 10,000 registered lobbyists working the halls of Congress and federal agencies, it’s a challenge to get attention and support for the legislative aims of any business sector. And in a presidential election year, the task is even harder.
So the year will present significant challenges and opportunities. We’ll need every day, including the extra day for leap year in 2012, to advocate for policies that protect patients and providers.
Elections will be conducted for all seats in the House, one-third of the Senate and the White House.
Messages supporting the value of homecare and concerns about Medicare policy must be part of election-year debates and discussions. Candidates’ ears will be finely tuned to constituent concerns in 2012. It will be a great time to speak up at political events and conduct a facility tour to demonstrate the role HME plays in your community’s continuum of care.
In terms of legislative work that gets accomplished, it will be a short year. Election day, Nov. 6, 2012, is still months away, but the political season is in full swing, with primaries and caucuses beginning this month. The impact of the looming elections is apparent in Congress, where most serious legislative work will be shoehorned into a compressed legislative calendar.
Fortunately, the American Association for Homecare has scheduled the 2012 Washington Legislative Conference for Feb. 15-16, which gives attendees an opportunity to press our issues on Capitol Hill early in the session. This conference is the HME sector’s best opportunity to learn about legislative issues that affect your business, and to meet directly with members of Congress or key aides to advocate for policies that protect both your patients’ well-being and your company’s bottom line. While many critical HME legislative priorities are still in flux as we go to press, it’s safe to assume that our sector will still have unfinished business related to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates, increasingly onerous Medicare audit programs, plans for more pre-authorization requirements in important product categories and other pressing issues.