UOA 2002 Advocacy Report
Happy New Year!
After looking over some statistics for activity on the UOA Advocacy page during the past year, it is timely to let you know what that activity was, and the result it obtained for UOA and our members. We owe a great debt of gratitude to those of you who have taken advantage of the Advocacy page to contact your elected officials on behalf of UOA.
First some raw numbers:
Now, the outcomes:
However, CMS DID listen to our concerns about the very low reimbursement levels that existed, and they DID agree to base fee schedules for the new system on current pricing -- this is a major concession on their part that would not have happened if it were not for the heightened awareness that your letters caused.
Another bit of evidence about this is that the CMS administrator made a comment in a Senate committee hearing about the number of letters his office received on the issue of low reimbursement rates for ostomy supplies. It was arranged that his office would receive a copy of each letter you sent to Congress on that issue.
One feature of this particular campaign should be noted, and applauded. The issue of IBD caused you--UOA members--to ask your friends and relatives to come to the UOA Advocacy page and send a message -- even though they are not chapter or association members. We are very grateful for that.
We also hope that you will do the same for other issues in the future ... you don't have to have a stoma to educate an elected official that ostomy products should be reimbursed fairly.
Still, there has been some evidence that one of the strongest proponents, Florida's Senator Graham, is slightly less committed to it than he was. We think we can take at least a little credit for that, as our FL colleagues generated a very high volume of "noise" on this issue.
There is no doubt, though, that the issue will return when Congress reconvenes, and we will have to continue to educate our elected officials that competitive bidding is inappropriate as a method for providing ostomy supplies (or other DME).
We hope we can count on your continued support and activity on these and other issues as they arise. The Government Affairs Committee will continue to be actively engaged in a variety of advocacy-related areas, but we rely very heavily on YOU to interpret the issues to YOUR elected officials, educate them about how the issue affects YOUR life and, as one of their constituents, seek their action and assistance.
We hope you have had a chance to see the new UOA website design, and that you will bookmark the location of the Advocacy page www.uoa.org/advocacy. Visit on a regular basis and note the new look within the Advocacy page that will be introduced over the next few weeks. We will try to more clearly define news items, and (in the best New Year's Resolution tradition) put the Advocacy home page on a diet, highlighting there only the most urgent issues.
This plan emerges from a recent conference call with a technical advisor at Capitol Advantage (from whom we "rent" the communication software), who says we are doing better than many of their customers, but can still take some steps to maximize the usefulness of the page. The planned "tweaking" will make it more user-friendly for you and will help us more effectively achieve our ultimate objective of impacting on the public policy decisions that affect us.
Three things YOU can do, if you would, please:
THANK YOU AGAIN for all your help and support in 2002. We look forward
to working with you in 2003 to help other UOA members and to achieve
public policy decisions that will be good for people with an
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Content last revised 2003-01-07