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Archive for May, 2016

Millions of seniors and people with disabilities rely on medical equipment to live safely in their homes. Unfortunately, government policies have created many burdens for these individuals trying to receive medically necessary equipment, services and supplies.

People for Quality Care has a special resource designated to this issue, the Medicare Complaint Hotline. The Hotline was created to get the voices of those experiencing significant challenges accessing medical equipment to Congress. We encourage caregivers, patients and health care providers who want to make their voices heard to call the hotline.  Your story matters! Call People for Quality Care at 1-800-404-8702.

On the Front Lines of DME: Reinforcements are on the Way!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016 @ 08:05 AM  posted by jbuytaert

Posted on May 10, 2016 in HME Government Issues

By: John Gallagher, VGM Government Relations

Legislation is expected to be introduced this week in the U.S. House of Representatives that would freeze competitive bidding rates at the current level for 15 months and require CMS to take into account the costs of providing this equipment when determining rates. Additionally, this legislation removes the current bid ceiling limits for future competitive bidding rounds.

The bipartisan legislation is expected to be introduced by Reps. Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa) and would be a companion bill to the Patient Access to Durable Medical Equipment Act of 2016, which was introduced in the Senate in March by the original sponsors Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).

Fortunately, because of the hard work and effort the HME industry has put towards a solution, reinforcements are coming in the form of these pieces of bipartisan legislation.

We Can Learn from the 101st Airborne

As we battle against competitive bidding, the HME industry should take a lesson from the United States Army’s 101st Airborne Division and its struggle to survive during World War II.

It was Christmas 1944 in Belgium, and the 101st Airborne Division was outnumbered and outgunned as the German army surrounded the town of Bastogne in the Battle of the Bulge. This was the final push for the German army as a last-ditch effort to claim victory. The German army had the entire division surrounded and demanded that the American paratroopers surrender immediately, to which the “Battered Bastards of Bastogne” ever so eloquently responded with “NUTS!”

The Battered Bastards of Bastogne hardly had enough clothes to stay warm in the frigid weather and were extremely outgunned by the powerful German army. For two weeks, the 101st dug their boot heels into the ground and defended the town of Bastogne. After reinforcements arrived, the German commanders had no choice but to retreat, and Bastogne and the allied forces were victorious.

The competitive bidding program (CBP) has surrounded HME, forcing providers across the country into accepting drastic cuts to the point where providers cannot survive. In January 2016, providers saw a cut in Medicare reimbursement rates of approximately 25 percent overnight. Providers in rural America are being forced to accept reimbursement rates set by densely populated urban areas. And, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to cut reimbursements on July 1 by an additional 25 percent.

The VGM Group Action Center has made it extremely simple for you to send a message to your members of Congress. By clicking here, you can send a message of support in about one minute and add your voice to the thousands of messages that have been sent through the VGM D.C. Link in the past weeks. We urge you to share the link above with your colleagues, patients and friends to flood the inboxes of your elected officials with the concerns of the HME industry.

IBD Patient Education Conference

Please join us for our annual half-day patient education conference on Saturday, May 14, 2016 in Lake Elmo, MN. Dr. Robert McCabe will deliver our opening presentation on “Being Part of the Future Cure”. Following the keynote, attendees will have the chance to attend three break-out topics of their choice.

Topics include:

  • The ABCs of Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis
  • Surgery and Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis
  • What are CT and MR enterography, and why is my gastroenterologist ordering it?
  • Dermatology and IBD
  • Research Update: Fecal Transplant and Microbiome
  • Research Update: Medicinal Marijuana
  • Research Update: Plexus and Prokids

And many more…

To register for the conference and check out our great selection of break-out topics and presenters, visit our website.

Contact Ruby at rlanoux@ccfa.org if you have any questions.

Join us for a webinar that will help you learn more about “biosimilars,” a new type of medication that has been introduced in the United States as a treatment option for chronic illnesses such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Though medications of this kind work similarly to other biological therapies, there are important differences in how they are approved, as well as questions to discuss with your doctor when considering their use. Register today!

This program is supported by a sponsorship from AbbVie, Inc.

May is Physical Activity Month

Monday, May 2, 2016 @ 01:05 PM  posted by jbuytaert

Here are some of the benefits to encourage you to keep moving!

The benefits of exercise extend far beyond weight management. Research shows that regular physical activity can help reduce your risk for several diseases and health conditions and improve your overall quality of life. Regular physical activity can help protect you from the following health problems.

  • Heart Disease and Stroke. Daily physical activity can help prevent heart disease and stroke by strengthening your heart muscle, lowering your blood pressure, raising your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels (good cholesterol) and lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels (bad cholesterol), improving blood flow, and increasing your heart’s working capacity. Optimizing each of these factors can provide additional benefits of decreasing the risk for Peripheral Vascular Disease.
  • High Blood Pressure. Regular physical activity can reduce blood pressure in those with high blood pressure levels. Physical activity reduces body fat, which is associated with high blood pressure.
  • Obesity. Physical activity helps to reduce body fat by building or preserving muscle mass and improving the body’s ability to use calories. When physical activity is combined with proper nutrition, it can help control weight and prevent obesity, a major risk factor for many diseases.
  • Back Pain. By increasing muscle strength and endurance and improving flexibility and posture, regular exercise helps to prevent back pain.
  • Osteoporosis. Regular weight-bearing exercise promotes bone formation and may prevent many forms of bone loss associated with aging.
  • Self Esteem and Stress Management. Studies on the psychological effects of exercise have found that regular physical activity can improve your mood and the way you feel about yourself. Researchers have found that exercise is likely to reduce depression and anxiety and help you to better manage stress.