• People for Quality Care Sends DVDs Featuring Patients to Washington

    From: Home Care Magazine

    ‘We need you to stop competitive bidding’

    WATERLOO, Iowa — Teri Lynn Jorgensen of Cedar Falls, Iowa, has a special message about competitive bidding for Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa: “The choice [of provider] needs to remain mine.”
    So does Angie Plager of Cambridge, Iowa. “We really need you now more than ever to stop this competitive bidding.”

    The two women are among people with disabilities featured in a new, personalized DVD from People for Quality Care, a grassroots advocacy group that educates people with disabilities, their families and Medicare beneficiaries about competitive bidding.

    Called “9 Powerful Minutes,” the DVD turns the camera on several Iowa wheelchair users and lets them tell their own stories of what their HME providers mean to them, the importance of free choice in selecting a provider and the need for quality products.

    PFQC hopes this is just one in a series of short videos on competitive bidding that will go directly to legislators on Capitol Hill — and also be viewed by Medicare beneficiaries and others on its YouTube channel or the PFQC website.

    PFQC’s Beth Cox, communications/marketing director, sees the videos as a new tool to help repeal competitive bidding.

    “We want to replicate this in other states, in areas where there is competitive bidding,” Cox said, noting that Iowa might not be in the current Round 1 but it will be in Round 2. “It is a big educational issue. People need to know that this is happening — and they don’t.”

    They also need to know something else, she said: “These providers are going out of their way to take care of people, and legislators and other folks need to understand that.”

    Cox said the simply made DVDs can be tailored to each legislator. “This one was specifically aimed at Sen. Harkin, and we talked about disabilities issues because he was one of the authors of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” she said.

    The DVD was hand-delivered to Harkin during the American Association for Homecare Legislative Conference in Washington earlier this year. One of its featured advocates was on hand for that. Jorgensen, a radio station program director who was born with spina bifida, was among those in the delegation who visited Iowa congressional offices during the March lobbying event.

    “We would hope that he would listen to his constituents — in this case, wheelchair users,” Cox said. “People have a relationship with their current providers, they trust those providers. They don’t want to lose that relationship.”

    Jason Cantonwine of Ames, Iowa, said without his provider he would likely be unable to work.

    “Without a local provider, I would be in a real bad way,” he said on the DVD, recalling a time when his tilt-recline power wheelchair got stuck in a recline position. It was after hours, but he called his local provider anyway. A company representative came out and soon got him rolling again.

    “I can call them on the spur of the moment, after hours, and they’re always there for me,” he said of the company that has provided for him for 14 years.

    HME users in every state have moving, sometimes dramatic, stories to tell, Cox said, and she hopes other stakeholders will get people in their own hometowns on camera to tell their stories, then send those DVDs to their federal legislators.

    “This video was done by amateurs, using a simple camera,” Cox said. “We’d like to encourage other providers, advocates and caregivers around the country to use it as a model and contact PFQC for assistance in organizing similar efforts in their areas.”

    Cox said PFQC can do everything from the filming to simply providing questions and/or getting the DVDs to Washington.

    “We are actually willing to come … and sit down and ask the people the questions and film them,” she said, adding that the videos need only be between three and five minutes.

    PFQC teams have completed a second video featuring patients and patient advocates in the Dallas area, and another is planned for Kansas City, Cox said.

    Could hearing personal stories from beneficiaries across the country be the key to getting competitive bidding repealed? Cox hopes that seeing the real-life stories will compel legislators to sign on to H.R. 1041.

    “I believe that bringing the patient together with [legislators] and having them tell their story can really make a difference,” she said.

    For more information about the program, go to www.peopleforqualitycare.org or contact Cox at 319/274-7913.

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