VGM Group Is MAMES' Associate Member of the Year

The Midwest Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers (MAMES) has named the VGM Group its Associate Member of the Year.

"This company is always looking to improve services to their members by offering resources that go above and beyond what typically would be offered in many ways by adding benefits that do not always bring added revenue," the nomination said.

VGM's CEO and founder Van Miller said in a news release, "VGM appreciates the honor, but it should be shared with all the hard-working HME providers in this state association, who despite daily challenges from federal and state government are working hard to take care of patients where they want to be - at home. We will continue to support state associations throughout the country."

Among recent MAMES/VGM Group collaborations were the negotiations that resulted in a new reimbursement rate from Kansas Health Policy Authority (KHPA), which oversees the state's Medicaid program.

VGM's U.S. Rehab division and its VP Greg Packer were among those working to create a new payment structure to restore beneficiary access to DME. In January, KHPA began paying DME suppliers either 35 percent above cost or 80 to 85 percent of the manufacturer's suggested retail price - whichever figure was lower.

Those numbers made it impossible for providers to continue to serve Medicaid beneficiaries in Kansas.

Said Packer, "End-users were without service for more than six months." Packer, who served three terms in the Kansas legislature, added, "With the help of the Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Suppliers, we identified key contacts, discussed issues, and negotiations proceeded. The lesson here is that no matter whether times are good or bad, keep in contact with decision-makers and reimbursement staff at the state level. Doing that can help prevent lapses in service to patients who need it the most."

KHPA will now pay 75 percent of the manufacturer's suggested retail price and will conduct yearly reviews of reimbursement rates to see if it needs to make adjustments.

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