North Carolina Home Medical Equipment Providers Travel to Washington to Advocate for Better Home Medical Care for Seniors and People with Disabilities

Published: 2010-07-10 23:28:52
Author: NCAMES | March 16, 2010

CARY, N.C. -- Home medical equipment service providers from seventeen North Carolina-based companies travelled to Washington, D.C. last week to urge members of Congress to support new legislation that will strengthen homecare availability for millions of older Americans and people with disabilities who require home-based medical equipment and services.

The group met with the entire North Carolina Congressional delegation, including Senators Burr and Hagan.

"Home-based care is by far the most cost-effective setting for post-acute care," said Beth Bowen, Executive Director of the North Carolina Association of Home Medical Equipment Services (NCAMES). "Quality home medical equipment and services help to reduce hospitalizations, ER visits, and admission to nursing homes."

The North Carolina home medical equipment providers visiting Washington asked members of Congress to support H.R. 3790, a bipartisan bill that would preserve access to homecare and provide a cost-effective alternative to a flawed Medicare bidding program for durable medical equipment.

"The current Medicare bidding program is very restrictive" said Bowen. "It is poised to put many of the best community-focused providers out of business, eliminating competition in the long run. It also promotes irresponsible 'suicide bidding' using economic coercion to force providers to bid at unsustainable reimbursement rates. For providers here in North Carolina, it's a job killer. Coming on top of the many other reimbursement cuts our sector has suffered, this flawed program will reduce services that Medicare beneficiaries need."

H.R. 3790 replaces the Medicare bidding program with other types of cost-savings and at the same time preserves access to home-based care. The bill currently has 176 cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives, with broad bipartisan support that includes 106 Democrats and 70 Republicans. Nine members of North Carolina's congressional delegation are currently signed on as cosponsors: Reps. G. K. Butterfield, Howard Coble, Bob Etheridge, Walter B. Jones, Jr., Larry Kissell, Mike McIntyre, Brad Miller, Sue Myrick, and Heath Shuler.

Representative Shuler also spoke to a several hundred individuals in the home medical equipment industry at a conference hosted by the American Association for Homecare, which represents providers of home medical equipment and services. Shuler spoke about his own grandfather's requirement for oxygen after suffering a stroke. Shuler said, "His quality of life escalated unbelievably." Shuler has been a steady champion for HME concerns, focusing especially on small-business implications.

With close to 300 member companies and growing, the North Carolina Association for Medical Equipment Services (NCAMES) is the statewide leader in preserving access to safe, affordable, and therapeutic home medical equipment. We provide advocacy and education to home medical equipment (HME) providers statewide dedicated to helping North Carolina's growing senior population and patients of all ages gain more mobility and experience a high quality of life in the comfort and privacy of their own homes. NCAMES was instrumental in passing the nation's first HME licensure law which has been working to ensure quality home health care since 1995, and fully supports pending legislation H.R. 3790 to continue HME access for patients in need. For more information, visit or call (919)-387-1221.

Carolina Newswire