The American Association for Homecare (AAHomeCare) represents health care providers, equipment manufacturers, and community health care organizations in their collective effort to lobby state and federal lawmakers, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and state regulatory and private payers to ensure homecare and access to key equipment and services is not unfairly burdened by Medicare and other federal or state programs like Medicaid — and in this case, TennCare.
“The team at Bridge moves fast, has well-established relationships in politics and government, and brings a high level of expertise to their work on public policy issues. They know what moves the needle with policymakers and what it takes to win.”
- Tom Ryan, President and CEO, AA Homecare
Bridge was retained by AAHomecare to help develop and pass state legislation to preserve and protect ready access to complex rehabilitation technology (CRT) equipment. This includes power wheelchairs, manual wheelchairs, seating systems, and other technology designed to assist those with complex medical conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), spinal cord injuries, neuromuscular diseases, traumatic brain injuries, strokes, and other major health challenges.
Despite being retained late in the legislative session, just days before the Tennessee General Assembly bill filing deadline, Bridge quickly found bill sponsors.
Bridge staff worked with a key bill sponsor and legislative staff to craft a bill that both met the goals of AAHomeCare and could garner the broader support required for passage.
Bridge worked with stakeholders to shape and finalize the legislation in a way that defined CRT specifically and required it to be considered separately when broader rate or budget changes are being considered. A key net benefit is additional public and lawmaker focus on the vital importance of CRT equipment to the lives of so many Tennessee seniors.
Finally, Bridge was able to help secure bipartisan support and subsequently work with TennCare officials on complex technical adjustments that addressed the concerns and needs of all stakeholders.
Due to the careful, extensive preliminary and ongoing groundwork of the team at Bridge, the bill cleared each step of the legislative process and received no opposition in the House or the Senate. The legislation was signed into law by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee on March 28, 2019. Thanks to this legislation, the individuals and caregivers who depend on CRT are now assured that any budgetary or reimbursement changes covering these essential products will get the special, separate deliberation they deserve.
Throughout the process, Bridge’s relationships, credibility and knowledge of both policy and process helped AAHomeCare achieve a victory benefiting not just their membership but the public good.