Re: UOA's Effort To Improve Medicare Reimbursement for Ostomy Supplies--
There has been quite a lot of activity in our campaign to improve Medicare reimbursement. April 8 [,1999], we met with officials of the Health Care Financing Administration, and submitted to them a 50-page report on our research. They were cordial and sympathetic, but they feel they need additional information.
At the WOCN conference in June, we surveyed their attendees and were very successful in obtaining their cooperation in a Congressional letter-writing effort. At the UOA Conference in July, we generated many more Congressional letters: 142 people wrote letters to 101 different US Representatives and 66 US Senators in 33 states. We have begun to receive replies to these letters and feel there is some room for hope of a positive solution. In the August issue of "Home Care Magazine" (a periodical aimed at home care equipment dealers), President Dan Tyrrell was quoted in an article that focused on the inequities in the ostomy reimbursement system. That article has led to UOA being contacted by some dealers who wish to help with the campaign.
The solution remains outside our immediate reach, however. To extend our reach, we need your help! We know that many people have specific problems with Medicare; that claims are denied even with good medical justification; and that people do not get the items they need for the best management of their stomas. The HCFA officials have asked us to tell them of those individual problems - but we can get them only from you and your members.
Now, we know that it is very hard for someone to sit down and write a letter with all the details. (How do I start? What do I say? Which comes first?) So we have set up a way for people to tell their story verbally, to someone who will do the hard part of writing it. We will then send the written story to the person so they can check it and sign it and send it back to us. The letters will be sent to the Healthcare Financing Administration to show them the kinds of specific problems people are having. We will also share them with some members of Congress as part of a two-pronged effort to improve the system. Of course, if people do want to write and send in their own letters that would be wonderful. Lists and letters should be sent to my attention: Linda Aukett; 424 Bradford Avenue; Westmont, NJ 08108.