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Archive for March, 2019

Courtesy of American Association for Homecare – 3/20/19

CMS’ recent announcement that the Agency was moving forward with plans to add non-invasive ventilators to the product mix for the 2021 CB Round is of critical concern for respiratory suppliers, medical professionals, and patients and caregivers who rely on these products.

In the week-plus since CMS included that information as part of new details and a timeline for the next bidding round, I’ve heard from numerous leaders at respiratory companies, clinician groups, and organizations representing impacted patient populations.  Not surprisingly, everyone I’ve spoken with is highly motivated and prepared for an aggressive campaign to push back against this policy change.

For the larger HME community, this announcement is a fresh example of why we need to remain committed to building strong relationships on Capitol Hill and continuing to grow our industry’s advocacy capability.  It’s yet another reminder that policymakers at both Federal and state levels are certain to continue to look for new avenues to limit Medicare and Medicaid expenditures even as the populations served by these programs grow.

Despite this latest challenge, I am more positive than I have ever been about the HME community’s advocacy capability.  There is no question that the reimbursement relief and bidding program reforms gained through the CURES bill and the ESRD/DMEPOS Rule would have never taken shape without your strong grassroots advocacy for rural relief legislation over the last two Congressional sessions.  The wide support on multiple Congressional sign-on letters in support of these priorities is a direct reflection on the relationships you’ve built and the credibility you’ve established for HME on Capitol Hill.

Looking Ahead

We are currently working with our champions on Capitol Hill to develop legislation providing more substantial and longer-term relief for HME suppliers in non-bidding areas, and also in discussions with respiratory stakeholders and our patient group allies on a plan of action to address the ventilator issue.  Once again, the prospects for success on these issues will mainly rest on our ability to educate and engage hundreds of members of Congress that our policy priorities are critically needed by both HME suppliers and patients.  We’ll be counting on long-time HME advocates to continue to work with their legislators, and we’ll also need fresh faces to become involved in HME advocacy.
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March is Colorectal Awareness Month

Thursday, March 28, 2019 @ 08:03 AM  posted by jbuytaert

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States and the second leading cause of death from cancers that affect both men and women. Colorectal cancer affects all racial and ethnic groups and is most common in people ages 50 and older.

The best way to prevent colorectal cancer it so get screened regularly starting at age 50. There are often no signs or symptoms of colorectal cancer – that’s why it’s so important to get screened.

Keep Sidewalks Clear of Snow and Ice

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 @ 08:03 AM  posted by jbuytaert

With the recent ice accumulation and snowfall, the Minnesota Council on Disability wants to remind you to shovel your sidewalks and curb ramps. The sidewalks and curb ramps are lifelines for many people with disabilities and for our senior community who are trying to get to work, the grocery store, or medical appointments.

When sidewalks and curb ramps are not cleared, they can become impassable and create a potentially life-threatening situation for people who are forced into the street alongside traffic.

Please shovel your sidewalk and curb ramps as soon as possible. Don’t wait for the snow to melt!

Snow removal is governed by city ordinance. Visit your city’s website (opens in new tab) to learn more about:

  • Snow removal ordinances for residential and commercial buildings
  • Potential fines for failure to remove snow in a timely manner
  • Tips and helpful resources for shoveling your sidewalk
  • Reporting snow and ice on local sidewalks

If you are a person with a disability in need of assistance with snow removal, contact Disability Hub MN (opens in new tab) for resources. Note: These resources may come at a cost. If possible, make arrangements for snow removal prior to the snow season.

Senior citizens can contact the Senior LinkAge Line (opens in new tab) for resources.

Keeping sidewalks and curb ramps clear of snow and ice is the neighborly thing to do–and it’s the law. If you live near senior citizens or people with disabilities, volunteer to shovel their walkways. Let’s all do our part!

Budget for One Minnesota

Tuesday, March 5, 2019 @ 11:03 AM  posted by jbuytaert
Investing $1.27 Billion in community Prosperity
Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan propose investing $1.27 billion in community infrastructure projects across the state. The proposal balances the needs of the state, with 22 percent of projects in Greater Minnesota, 27 percent in the Twin Cities area, and 51 percent having impacts statewide.
Following eight years of sound fiscal management, the State of Minnesota has a triple-A bond rating and over $3 billion in available bonding capacity for 2020-2021. This capital investment proposal remains well within these limits – protecting the state’s financial standing, while making critical investments in our future.
Preserving and Renewing State Assets
Governor Walz and Lt. Governor Flanagan understand the importance of maintaining the assets we currently have. Half of their 2019 capital budget ($631 million) will support asset preservation projects at state agencies, such as roof replacements and exterior repairs, renovation and repurposing of existing facilities to better meet program needs, and renewing buildings to keep occupants safe and healthy.

Enhance Learning Environments and Improve Efficiency of Campus Buildings
Governor Walz recommends fully funding Minnesota State’s request of $150 million for asset preservation. This supports efforts to ensure the state’s public higher education buildings are accessible, safe, and energy efficient. More than 70 projects – like roof replacements, new HVAC systems, and electrical upgrades – are planned for at least 40 campuses across the state, from Thief River Falls to Marshall, and Virginia to Winona.
Ensure that Students, Staff, and Professors Work in Safe, Productive Buildings
Governor Walz recommends $117.7 million in funding for asset preservation across campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Rochester. The Governor also recommends $4.3 million to renovate A.B. Anderson Hall on the Duluth campus to modernize 35,000 square feet of teaching space and update mechanical and life safety systems.
Improve Public Lands and Buildings
Governor Walz includes $109 million for the Department of Natural Resources to continue taking care of buildings, water and wastewater systems, roads and bridges, trails, and water access sites in state parks across Minnesota. This
recommendation also supports the Department’s efforts to make their buildings and trails ADA accessible and safe for visitors and staff. Read more

Tuesday, March 5, 2019 @ 09:03 AM  posted by jbuytaert