Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday

Let all the dealers and providers who make up the DME/HME industry use the time available until the New Year comes to do a few vital things for the future. Reviewing the year will provide the tools to both stay in business and expand sales and profits. Here are a couple of action items to complete before you break for the holidays:

1. Meet with Your Accountant: Set up a brief meeting with your accountant and study where your dollars came from; which segments provided the best profits and which were losing money. You may be pleasantly surprised or greatly shocked, but either way you must use this knowledge as the starting place needed to make future plans. I have had the privilege of working with many DME/HME companies over the years, and I can tell you this is valuable information.
 
2. Work with your Staff: When you have the facts, then you can work with your staff. If some employees have specific responsibilities, together with them go over all of the information showing cost, profit, loss, and potential. When your employee understands what this means, you win! If the picture is brighter than you anticipated, a raise in salary solidifies your employee.

My experience is that when an employee is given a big responsibility, they will perform much more than you can imagine. This is truly “win-win.”

I worked as a consultant for a very active dealer in Rochester, upstate N.Y. This gentleman reviewed four employees. Each was responsible for their department, as well as doing other things necessary for the company. He met with them once a week. This type of communication made for very close co-operation,

You all can do something similar! When you take advantage of the free time each holiday brings, it is easy to prepare for the New Year.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
 
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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Make Things Happen: You have the power!

Daily, you receive e-mails, phone calls, letters, magazines, and many other communications. Do you listen and read these things or continue to wonder about upcoming events?

In the last few weeks I have received several messages asking me about what lies ahead for our industry. Invariably I answer these the same way, because I tell the caller they provide the ideas for coming events. We must all work to see them succeed. I am pleased with the many publications available, which offer answers suggesting ways to remain successful. Please study these carefully! This is where you will find the answers.

When you recognize how hard your state DME associations and AAHomecare work on your behalf, do you say, "Thank You"? The best way to express your gratitude is by becoming a dues paying member! There are far too many DME/HME dealers who are not members of their state association or AAHomecare. They must realize if they joined, much more positive legislation would get through Congress.

A great deal is at stake for our industry. There is so much pending that needs to be passed. Work with the associations to make this happen.

The cost of membership is so little, but if you find yourself being forced to close or greatly reduce your operation, was it worth the few dollars you saved by not joining?

Our industry, DME/HME, must become very strong. As business people, we all have one goal, which is ROI: return on investment.” Join forces with AAHomecare and your state association - “Let us make things happen.”

Monday, December 15, 2014

Changes

The end of 2014 is rapidly approaching! This has been a very hectic year, and DME/HME providers and dealers have still not been recognized for the wonderful way they have taken care of their senior citizens and patients. Instead, they are under attack because so much money has been stolen from the system by a multitude of thieves that there is little left for providers.

There must be a way to prevent these dishonest entities from finding ways to defraud and steal! When they are caught, they easily disappear or re-open under another name.

It has been my pleasure to hear from so many dealers in the U.S. who wish to change the system. When I see how diligently the state DME associations and AAHomecare work to bring this about, I believe we can make the necessary changes.

To achieve this, a great deal of money is required. The dollars these associations require to get these changes made comes from membership dues. Everything they have already accomplished has benefitted all DME/HME dealers, not just their members. If every DME/HME dealer becomes a dues paying member of AAHomecare and their state association, our industry will succeed.

Unhappily, these days I see far too many fine DME/HME dealers closing their doors, and that frightens me. Companies who have been servicing their communities for many years, providing the needs of all senior citizens, ailing, bed-ridden patients and others in need, are vanishing. We cannot allow this to continue happening.


BOGO:
The super markets run a promo “buy one, get one” free and they move a great deal of merchandise. Since every dealer today wants to remain solvent and stay active, I ask they each do the following:

Please call all your competitors, every friend, and every other DME/HME dealer you can reach. Ask them to become a member of AAHomecare and their state association. You will be effective! When you explain all the benefits of membership and how minimal the cost is, they will come on board.
 
That is a great deal; far better than letting the door close. This small investment will go a very long way, which is why you are making this effort. We can no longer allow another DME/HME dealer vanish!

Friday, December 12, 2014

State Licensure

You are aware that in other health care programs, in order to provide services, the company must demonstrate they are competent and understand everything required. But HME/DME has still has not prepared the correct regulations to participate. There is NO license required! Accreditation is a giant step forward; however, I still see many practitioners who should not be allowed to participate in Medicare or Medicaid.

I believe each state must issue a license to show the company is capable to provide the many things involved. This must come from the State Board of Pharmacy or its equivalent. If you only want to drive a vehicle, you have to get a permit from the State Board of Motor Vehicles. Some kind of proof that you have learned all that is required to function in DME/HME.


To become a registered pharmacist, I had to acquire a degree in pharmacy. The next step was to pass very strict board exams by the State Board of Pharmacy. When I wanted to open my pharmacy, there were other rules and regulations. The same applies for other health care services; one must prove they are a professional in order to do business!

But why not the same for DME/HME? The principal earns their license and then the location, prior to opening, is inspected to be sure every “i” is dotted and every “t” is crossed. Then permission to become a dealer and be allowed to bill Medicare, etc., for services rendered should be earned. All this is the responsibility of the State Board of Pharmacy or its equivalent. I am comfortable in feeling that the same inspectors can monitor DME/HME along with Pharmacy,

The key to this is that a license can be revoked or suspended when found in violation of any rules and regulations. Without a doubt, most DME/HME providers and dealers run very legitimate operations. State licensure for DME/HME will keep out many companies and undesirables who do not meet the standards.

I would like to see a congressman introduce this legislation to be passed with HR 1717- Medicare Market Pricing Program Act of 2013, HR 4920- Medicare Competitive Bidding Act Improvement Act of 2014, and HR 5083- Medicare Audit Improvement and Reform Act of 2014.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Make Things Happen

As you walk through your office and showroom you will see that there are many opportunities waiting for you. You will notice items that have been on display but show little action. You have to recognize the inventory items that turn over rapidly. The goal is to make many more match the active products.

Promote! When you have chosen the products, contact the manufacturer and invite their salesperson to work with you. Showcase one product at a time and allow two or three weeks between promotions. When you speak with the salesperson, together choose the dates and items you will feature.

Now start promoting.  Place advertisements in the local newspaper and radio station. Contact all your referral sources to ask for their support. This is a critical step. The sharp dealers make it a person-to-person call, not via the telephone or e-mail. You will be pleasantly surprised when they all share ideas with you. Listen to them, because they want this to be as effective as possible. They, too, have a lot at stake!

A dealer on the West Coast told me that he always had a table with cookies and a pot of coffee being monitored by an employee.

The day you choose to promote your item should be a Saturday from 10:00AM until about 3:00PM. Over the years, I have heard from many DME/HME dealers and with no exception, they have all reported very profitable days.

You can “make things happen.” Your key employees should be very involved as you slowly put everything in place. In that fashion, your team will understand their contribution is of great value.

Monday, December 8, 2014

STAT

STAT means “at once.”

A Republican senator from Ohio, Rob Portman, and a Democrat from Maryland, Ben Cardin, introduced S.2975. This is the Senate version of H.R. 4920, which our industry is working very hard to get passed. There is only another week that Congress will be in session, so PLEASE act now.


Call and e-mail your senators to get it passed STAT (at once). Basically, we are asking that Congress pass the “Medicare Competitive Bidding Improvement Act".

There is no tomorrow. Do it STAT.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Truth

How can anybody describe what TRUTH is? Does it mean honesty, trustworthiness, loyalty, or sincerity? Is it all of the above or none?

Rotarians throughout the world open their meetings with “IS IT THE TRUTH?" I have looked in my dictionary and in my thesaurus to find the correct words to describe truth. I am not the only person seeking that answer. Emily Dickinson said: “Truth is such a rare thing, it is delightful to tell it.”  Mark Twain told us: “When in doubt, tell the truth.” So what is the truth?

I had been hoping that after the Thanksgiving Holiday, when we all were grateful for what we have achieved, the truth would prevail. A new Congress would then open in 2015 and we would hear that the United States, as a country, would roll up its sleeves and work for its citizens, not for a "party". But I still have not heard it.


If our elected congressmen would sit down together, speak like gentlemen to one another, and work for all the citizens of the US, we might see many changes. As long as we are torn apart, people like the dictators and some countries and “religious groups” will continue to do two things:
  1. It appears that they will accept the good money that Uncle Sam sends them as a personal gift.
  2. They will ask for more.
Since WWII ended in 1945 we have been involved in a war. It may be called a “police action” or a “joint effort with allies”, but it still is war! Despite the growing number of fine young Americans who give their lives, has the world changed in any fashion?
 
I have not heard the truth from any of the newly elected politicians or from those still in Congress, and I am so ashamed of what I see and hear. I beg all of the politicians to stop and ask themselves before they speak “is it the truth?