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State Association Spotlight: TexMEP

Our HME State Associations do so much to advocate and improve the HME industry. We are excited to feature one of our dedicated state associations in this spotlight! 

 

We are now through the middle of the summer, and we are proud to feature TexMEP as a spotlight HME state association. TexMEP has been very active these past few months. We’re hoping this article will provide you with some inspiration leading into the August recess efforts. 

 

The Texas Freeze

In February of 2021, Texas endured unseasonably freezing temperatures which caused power outages all throughout the state. Texas home medical equipment providers spent days and nights assisting their patients with their needs during this power outage. The TexMEP leadership became a voice amongst the medical professionals in Texas.

Following the emergency proclamation, TexMEP President, Victoria Peterson, was invited to attend and present at the Disaster Preparedness DME Power Committee Meeting chaired by Ron Lucey, the Executive Director of the Texas Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities. Victoria provided a voice for the HME industry in Texas, speaking on the industry’s place in the healthcare continuum, and what HME providers do to help patients during natural disasters. Along with Victoria in attendance were Lauryn Estrella, TexMEP Executive Director, and Mark Gowen of Angel Medical/TexMEP Treasurer.

This meeting has led to FEMA inviting TexMEP to participate on the Texas Power-Dependent Critical Durable Medical Equipment Workgroup. Victoria has also been an outspoken leader on the state association leaders calls with CMS, FEMA, and ASPR in an effort to create resources and develop relationships with groups who can assist in times of need.

Texas Advocacy

Federal Efforts: In the months heading into summer, the HME industry has been looking for support for legislation that would increase reimbursement rates beyond the public health emergency. TexMEP folks met with many of their congressional leaders serving on the House Ways and Means Committee:

  • Congressional meetings with John Gallagher and Ted Metcalf, Laurie Bachorek, and Jennifer Wilson to represent TexMEP visited Reps. Fallon (R-TX-4), Pfluger (R-TX-11), Van Duyne (R-TX-24), and Jackson (R-TX-13)
  • Virtual meetings with the offices of Rep. Veasey (D-TX-33) and Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX-7)

(Left image: Ted Metcalf of VGM, staff from Rep. Fallon’s office, Jennifer Wilson with OneSource, and John Gallagher of VGM)

Right image: Ted Metcalf of VGM, Laurie Bachorek with Metrocare, staff from Rep. Van Duyne’s office, John Gallagher of VGM)

State Efforts: 

  • The legislative work included working with Tan Parker and other legislative champions to introduce HB's HB3677, HB3678, and HB3679. Adrienne Trigg, TexMEP Legislative Chair, worked tirelessly to advocate and support Texas providers on the following house bills and issues:
    • HB3677 – Amendment to existing statute that protects continuity of care and patient choice for all Texas Medicaid recipients. This bill includes DME and CRT providers in the definition of “specialty provider.” It also ensures protection is not limited to recipients with primary insurance, newly enrolled recipients, and protects patient choice regardless of their providers network status. This legislation also ensures out of network providers must be paid at the required out of network rate described in T.A.C. Section 353.4 (e) (2) and (e) (3).
    • HB3678 – Updates the insurance code to support Medicaid continuity of care and patient choice language and ensures adequate reimbursement.
    • HB3679 – Requires MCOs to reimburse at no less than 95% of Texas Medicaid fee schedule.

Ultimately, none of these passed in any form, but the group continues to create positive relationships with state legislators.

(Adrienne Trigg, TexMEP Legislative Chair leading the Ice Cream Social at the Texas Capitol on April 26)

On April 26, 2021, TexMEP hosted an Ice-Cream Meet-and-Greet event at the Texas State Capitol Building. This event gave Texas providers the opportunity to meet with almost 200 legislators and staff to discuss the difficulties HME providers face and how these proposed legislative bills could help ease some of those hardships. In attendance were Adrienne Trigg, TexMEP Legislative Committee Chair, along with Mark Gowen, TexMEP Treasurer, Laurie Bachorek, and other Texas providers who joined in support and discussions.

Though ultimately the sought-after specific language did not pass for HME/DME/CRT this session, with the lowest number of bills passing in the past 20 years, we continue working on creating positive relationships with state legislators and work in Texas’ special sessions to appropriate federal relief money.

The TexMEP state association has only just begun! 

TexMEP was formed only a few years ago. They are truly going above and beyond for their members. If you are not a member of TexMEP or any state association, we strongly suggest you join. Associations provide a collective voice for the industry and include legislative representation, networking, education, and publications.

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