U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan Visits NAHC Board of Directors Chair Denise Schrader, MercyRockford Health System
Speaker Asks How to Fix Competitive Bidding, Discusses Home Medical Equipment Policy Changes
February 10, 2016 01:56 PM
On February 5, MercyRockford Health System executives, including National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) Board of Director Chair Denise Schrader, and other state providers hosted a visit from Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI-1), Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, at the MercyRockford Durable Medical Equipment (DME) office in the Speaker’s hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin.
Ms. Schrader, who has been President & Executive Director of the Visiting Nurses Association of the Rockford Area for nearly 10 years, is also Vice President Care Continuum for MercyRockford Health Systems. The territory includes Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. Ms. Schrader and the others present spoke with Speaker Ryan regarding home medical equipment policy changes. “Access to oxygen, nebulizers, apnea monitors and other DME equipment is critical for patients who have been hospitalized or suffer from serious illness,” Ms. Schrader said.
The group asked for Ryan’s support for a three-year reimbursement rate freeze from the nationwide rollout of the Competitive Bidding Program, which raises significant concerns, including loss of quality and service and the potential negative impact on beneficiary access and choice. “Mr. Ryan quickly recognized the barriers and broad negative impact the competitive bidding current process has on care and health of patients and the entire health care delivery system causing delayed discharges and avoidable readmissions,” Ms. Schrader said.
In addition, Ms. Schrader asked for Speaker Ryan’s support for H.R. 1342, the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act, which would allow non-physician practitioners to order home health services under Medicare.
According to a press release by Mercy Health System, “Other issues discussed focused on how the cuts and subsequent lack of access to needed medical equipment affects hospital discharge, employment, services and inventory reductions.”
Multiple providers across Wisconsin participated, including Mercy Assisted Care Durable Medical Equipment (DME), Agnesian Health, Home Health United, Home Care Medical, Home Care Pharmacy, Oxygen One Inc., Knueppel Healthcare Services and VGM.
Mercy Assisted Care DME in Janesville, along with the Visiting Nurses Association Durable Medical Equipment DME in Rockford, Illinois, “formed through the merger of Mercy Health System and Rockford Health System.” The DME locations “provide quality and professional home care services to referred home care clients in Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. Every month, our DME locations processes over 2,800 new orders, provide services to over 3,900 recurring rentals in patient’s homes and make on average of over 1,200 home deliveries. Combined, our DME locations employ over 50 staff.”