VGM's Ike Isaacson Gets 'Revved Up'

Published in Government Relations on November 07, 2023

This article was originally posted on hmenews.com

WATERLOO, Iowa – A singular focus and a singular voice: That’s what it takes to get the HME industry’s message across to both lawmakers and regulators, says Mike “Ike” Isaacson, who was recently named senior vice president of government relations at VGM & Associates. 

Isaacson and the team at VGM currently have a goal of scheduling 55 visits with legislators or their staffers in 55 days in a final push to get H.R. 5555 and S. 1294 passed in Congress.   

“The more we can come together in that unified voice, the harder it is (for policymakers) not do something,” he said. “If we start with the patient experience, everybody agrees that we need to provide the best patient experience possible. The methodology may be different, but the ultimate goal is the same. I get a little revved up about that.” 

Isaacson spoke with HME News recently about trusting the political process, even if it means repetition. 

HME News: Prior to first joining VGM in 2017, you worked in advocacy for a non-profit. How has that had an impact on you? 

Ike Isaacson: (The non-profit) was a place that I could make a difference and help people live better, live more independently, and that really became my passion. I spent a great deal of my time doing training and just really setting people up to have a clear concise message, because a lot of people are intimidated or uncomfortable making that call. This industry has so many awesome stories just waiting to be told. That's what's probably the most exciting part about my new role: creating and telling those stories and helping people tell their stories to have the most impact on the system and on the industry. 

HME: You’ve said that you think the HME industry is in a really strong place right now. Can you elaborate on that? 

Isaacson: With all of the advances we’ve had in technology, business practices and the ability to reach the consumer, the opportunities are there. This industry is filled with super smart people that know the business inside and out that have been through the trenches, so to speak. I think as we emerge out of the chaos that was COVID and the supply chain issues, the industry as a whole is in a place that's more connected and more ready to aggressively follow a path of staking our claim as a vital part of the health care continuum. 

HME: The industry has several bills pending in the current session of Congress, some of which have been reintroduced several times over the years. How do you keep on going? 

Isaacson: It’s just part of the process. If it's in the best interest of the patient, if it's in the best interest of the provider community and if it's going to improve and advance health care, it's worth doing over and over again until we can get it right, until we get the right champion and build that critical mass. It can take four or five or seven years and it may be a completely different bill by the time you get it to where it needs to be. You're going to have to reach some compromise and consensus and continue to work and chip away at the edges until you hit that right mix of people and policy.

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