Media Campaign Highlights Value of HME and Need for Market-Based Reimbursements
Source: American Association for Homecare Insider
Article published in American Association for Homecare Insider 1/12/2022:
In April 2021, AAHomecare started work on a sustained earned media campaign focusing on the essential, high-value care that HME provides and underscoring the critical need to support our industry. Over the past nine months, those efforts have led to nearly 100 high visibility media placements in print, online, and on television. Our partner in this effort, Keybridge Communications, estimates the audience reach for these stories at nearly 130 million people across 26 states and District of Columbia.
The campaign placed an op-ed titled Outdated Medicare Rules Threaten Older Americans’ Access to Home Medical Equipment authored by AAHomecare’s vice chair, Josh Marx, in healthcare-focused STAT News that details the business environment the industry is facing and makes a case for sustainable rates:
Medicare payments are now so out of line with the market that some of the remaining businesses providing older Americans with durable medical equipment will begin to fail, jeopardizing care for many people. To stop that from happening, Medicare must apply meaningful rate adjustments for home medical equipment and related services that reflect the market realities equipment providers face today.
Keybridge pitched and helped develop this widely syndicated story by the influential non-profit outlet CalMatters that details the impacts of product shortages and higher prices and quotes multiple HME suppliers:
“(Shipping) containers have gone from $2,000 for rental to anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 for the same container,” said Steve Yaeger, a Los Angeles based medical supplier who specializes in respiratory equipment. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Yaeger said his overhead has increased 25%. “When you see the cost of goods go up like that, all of a sudden you’re figuring out, ‘OK are we even going to make any money this year?’”
Two columns from AAHomecare president and CEO Tom Ryan in InsideSources and the International Business Times discuss supply chain challenges and the cost structure the industry is facing. These columns were syndicated in dozens of other print and online outlets.
Another recent highlight is a Jan. 4 Spectrum News story with video that includes supply and price issues for HME suppliers in the Albany, NY area.
“This campaign shows how HME suppliers are supporting patients and caregivers despite unprecedented supply chain issues and reimbursement rates that are disconnected from the cost structure our industry faces,” notes Ryan. “It’s connecting the value of home-based care and the need for market-based reimbursement with the faces of the millions of Americans who depend on HME. Raising awareness on these issues is critical as we get ready to move forward on Federal legislation to address reimbursement rates, as well as ongoing rate and network access initiatives in several states.”
The campaign also led to detailed stories (both subscription-only) that appeared in print editions of the San Francisco Chronicle (For People Relying on Medical Equipment, the Supply Chain Crisis Can Mean Life or Death) and the Montgomery Advertiser (Homecare Medical Companies, Customers Struggle Amid Shortages, Rising COVID Cases) putting the spotlight on supply chain issues that are challenging patients, caregivers, and providers, as well as making the case for market-based Medicare reimbursement policy.
** Public outreach on the value of HME services has always been a critical role for our national and state associations but never more so than during the on-going public health emergency given the essential role that our members play in keeping patients served safely at home. If you have a story to tell in your community about the value of your efforts during the pandemic, please contact OAMES executive director Kam Yuricich.