ATLANTA — At the American Association for Homecare’s (AAHomecare) second annual Humanitarian Dinner Sept. 19, AAHomecare’s chairman Tom Ryan and new President/CEO Tyler J. Wilson presented Mal Mixon, Invacare Corp. chairman and CEO, with the Humanitarian of the Year Award for his continued support for humanitarian efforts for home care and his lengthy service as a champion of home care policy.
While most award recipients mutter thanks during an acceptance speech, industry veteran Mixon took the opportunity to charge the home care industry.
Mixon criticized the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which had planned and failed to release the final local coverage determination on power mobility that day. He called “coding a mess” and “downcoding a disaster” and said he was “totally opposed” to competitive bidding.
“I can tell you we’re going to introduce a bill to eliminate competitive bidding,” said Mixon.
He also spoke out against Medicare’s in-the-home HME restriction, calling it “un-American,” and promised to continue efforts to change the rule.
Mixon told the crowd of 300 attendees that though the industry is currently surrounded by alligators, eventually society would realize the benefits of home care. He encouraged attendees, saying, “We’re gaining momentum.”
“We’re going to work hard to bring the industry together,” said Mixon.
To help get the industry’s message across to Congress, Mixon suggested that next year’s Medtrade show take place in Washington, D.C., so representatives could attend the show and the industry could bolster lobbying efforts there.
Until reimbursement issues were resolved, however, Mixon urged home care providers to be agile and efficient. “We’ve got to adapt to change,” he said.
The annual Humanitarian Dinner at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis raised approximately $70,000 for home care patient organizations. At press time, the organizations that were to receive the funds had not been announced. Last year, the dinner raised $75,000 for home care organizations in the Gulf region that were devastated by Hurricane Katrina.]