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NAMES ISSUES STATEMENT ON HEALTH CARE FRAUD AND ABUSE TO HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS SUBCOMMITTEE

 NAMES ISSUES STATEMENT ON HEALTH CARE FRAUD AND ABUSE
 TO HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS SUBCOMMITTEE
 ALEXANDRIA, Va., Sept. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers (NAMES), the only national association representing the home medical equipment (HME) services industry exclusively, today issued a statement to the Health Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee for the record of the hearing held on this date regarding health care fraud and abuse.
 NAMES President Corrine Parver said: "Over the last few years, NAMES has had an acute interest in assisting various government entities to help eradicate fraudulent business practices of unscrupulous HME suppliers. Due to the sensitive and personal nature of the health care services that HME suppliers provide to consumers in their homes, it is essential that our industry remain above reproach in the delivery of quality products and services."
 NAMES strongly supports legislative efforts to help eliminate unethical practices in the Medicare program generally, and the HME services industry specifically. "This goal can only be achieved, however, through a comprehensive and targeted approach that supports legitimate suppliers by strengthening the HME services industry, while also making it extremely tough on so-called 'scam' operations to conduct business," explained Parver.
 "The problem of health care fraud is global in nature and not limited to one health care industry or profession," sand the NAMES president. "Nonetheless, among health care providers, the HME services industry is virtually unique in acknowledging problems in its own sector and proposing thoughtful legislative solutions. NAMES consistently has encouraged Congress to enact tough legislation to eliminate from the Medicare program even those few individuals who not only damage an otherwise quality industry, but also cause unnecessary federal expenditures and in so doing exploit the elderly and other persons with disabilities."
 NAMES supports a number of current legislative proposals before Congress -- in particular H.R. 2534, the "Ethics and Treatment of Home Medical Equipment Act of 1991," introduced by Rep. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) last year and developed with NAMES input. H.R. 2534 has elicited strong congressional interest since its introduction and currently has 112 co-sponsors. Several key provisions of H.R. 2534 have been incorporated into other bills now making their way through the legislative process, notably H.R. 3837, the "Federal Program Improvement Act of 1991," sponsored by Rep. J.J. Pickle (D-Texas) and H.R. 5502, the "Health Care Cost Containment and Reform Act of 1992" sponsored by Reps. Fortney Stark (D-Calif.) and Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.).
 "NAMES urges Congress to pass these important priorities before it adjourns," said Parver. "While these and other legislative approaches are necessary to help eliminate unscrupulous HME suppliers from abusing the Medicare system, NAMES also believes that a well- informed consumer is an equally important deterrent to 'scam' operations. To that end, NAMES will continue to take the lead in addressing unethical business practices in the HME services industry, in cooperation with the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), by educating consumers and suppliers alike about appropriate HME business practices. NAMES looks forward to working together with Congress and federal agencies to help solve these problems," Parver concluded.
 HME suppliers represented by NAMES provide high-quality, cost-effective home care services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which allow people to recuperate from an illness or injury in their own homes, where they prefer to be, surrounded by family and friends. HME allows individuals to enjoy independence with dignity and thus a better quality of life.
 NAMES, headquartered in Alexandria, is the national trade association representing a diversified membership of more than 2,000 home medical equipment suppliers with some 4,500 sites, over 100 HME manufacturers and 39 state and regional HME associations. Its mission is to promote access to quality home medical equipment services as an integral part of the nation's health care system. In 1992 NAMES is celebrating its 10th anniversary -- a decade of service and commitment to the HME services industry.
 -0- 9/10/92
 /CONTACT: Steve Haracznak of the National Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers, 703-836-6263/ CO: National Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers ST: Virginia IN: HEA SU: LEG


TW -- DC008 -- 7924 09/10/92 10:35 EDT
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Date:Sep 10, 1992
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