Homecare Champion Speaks on Behalf of Tiny State and Resonates in Larger Industry
by: Theresa Flaherty
Friday, October 19, 2018
BARBOURSVILLE, West Va. – Regina Gillispie was already a 20-year veteran of the HME industry when parts of her rural service area were combined with the Ashland, Ky., MSA in Round 2 of competitive bidding. That forced her off the sidelines and to Washington, D.C., in 2009.
“I didn’t have a choice,” said Gillispie, owner of Best Home Medical in Barboursville, West Virginia, who was named the 2018 Van Miller Homecare Champion at Medtrade last week.“I said, ‘We’ve got to do something,’ and so I just kept going.”
Gillispie doesn’t get to Washington, D.C. as often as she used to, but she works hard to build and maintain those all-important relationships with lawmakers and their staff. It paid off in July, when all five members of West Virginia’s congressional delegation sent a letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma asking her to address their concerns about the impact of the competitive bidding program in rural areas.
HME News:How do you manage to sustain strong relationships with lawmakers?
Regina Gillispie:I treat them like referral sources. I just thought, I’ve got to sell them on us. I’ll send them an email every few weeks. If we get updates from AAHomecare or VGM or HME News about something, I send them copies. They can call me on my cell phone if they hear anything to update me.
HME:Do you also work on the state level to advocate for the industry?
Gillispie:We’ve always met with Medicaid when we’ve had problems. So many companies have closed, especially in our rural state, that Medicaid was running into access issues. When Medicare came out with rural rates for competitive bidding we said, “If you don’t want to listen to us, listen to state officials.” It’s nice that we had that relationship and that Medicaid was willing to explain the issues from that side of it.
HME:With so few providers in your state these days, how do you as a group get your voice heard?
Gillispie:The providers that are left, when I ask them to help, they have been great. VGM and AAHomecare are a great help. It’s a team effort.