Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Congress

I was under the impression the citizens of the United States elected congressmen to represent all of their electorate. They have to recognize this! They represent all of the citizens, not just those in one political party.

In the last two years, possibly even three years, so little has come from our elected officials in Congress! I am very concerned that so little is accomplished in DC. Why? What can we do to awaken them?

The world is in an uproar and we are being attacked by all kinds of “wanna-be’s” who love our money but not our country. When I read in the daily newspapers how big the national debt is, I wonder how much longer we can continue to shell out dollars and get so little or no return.

Unless our congressmen start to speak with one another, instead of saying “my way only,” I see the United States being drawn into another war. How many more young Americans will be sacrificed? How many more families will be torn asunder? We cannot allow this to happen.

Congress will be in session for a very short period and then off for their annual Holiday. They can accomplish a great deal in the next few weeks if they become a team of dedicated Americans. There is too much at stake for the country! I ask that they please represent ALL of their electorate. 

I realize how hard AAHomecare and the State DME Associations are working to get some pending bills passed. They cannot accomplish this alone. It is now your turn to speak up! To be effective they require the voices of every DME/HME provider and dealer. You can also invite your customers to get involved. They have as much at stake as you do.
 
Visit AAHomecare's Action Center and add your voice to the initiative.

Friday, September 26, 2014

HME News

The Editor of HME News, Ms. Liz Beaulieu, sent a general news e-mail on Friday, 9/12, referring to the HME NewsPolls. Since I am no longer a dealer, I do not participate in them, but I find it difficult to wait until the results of these are published.

The responses they received to the CMS offer to settle pending appeals as an exchange partial payment, which in my humble opinion is absolutely the wrong solution for dealers, spoke volumes. The dealers said “No” to CMS. Our industry cannot afford ANY further reductions in reimbursements. I am embarrassed about the attitude that CMS takes.

DME/HME providers submit bills for the work they do and the products they provide, but none for any of the pro-bono services that come with their work! These are all hard-working people whose livelihood and that of their employees depend on prompt payments for their services.

The response from the industry was “No, thank you!” I cannot imagine that CMS would ask for an additional discount of 32 percent - Outrageous! How little profit there is and yet the DME/HME providers still worry more about their customers and continue to give the good care that they always have.

Medtrade will be here sooner than you realize. The most important things today are that we make our voices heard. AAHomecare, the State DME Associations, the buying groups and affiliated associations are all becoming ONE voice! When we fight together, well organized, we will show CMS that we must be reimbursed with fair settlements.

We have to pursue other changes, such as licensure, which will keep out the “bad guys,” to make things happen. Please follow the lead of our industry publications, AAHomecare, as well as the state associations, VGM, and all the providers and dealers who have so much at stake! They will ALL be in Atlanta 10/21-10/23. BE THERE!
 
Register  for Medtrade with the promo code SHELLY for a Free Expo Pass. [Click Here to Start Registration]

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Make Things Happen!

There are so many things pending for DME/HME dealers, but the days seem to be racing by before we see any action. I could prepare a long list of the problems that have to be addressed, but that really means very little. We need action, not lists!

Congress has been called back to DC to get some legislation passed. Unfortunately, we have a divided Congress. The threat of another war is hanging over everyone! We have to pray that they can resolve this. However, working to get things done is far better than sitting and waiting.

Our industry is also in a dire strait. We must also get some bills passed, and unless our congressmen are contacted, they will not respond. This being the case, it is imperative that DME/HME dealers call their congressmen to notify them of our need and spur them into action. HR 4920 and HR 5083 need to be brought to the floor and voted in. With all the confusion in DC, congressmen will listen to their electorate when told how much this affects the members of their districts.

In a very few weeks, the industry will be gathering in Atlanta for Medtrade. This is where answers will be found! We have this opportunity to really band together and make a very strong impression on our Congressmen.

At all times, we have to remind these politicians that they represent all of the people in their district, and this includes the patients, the family caregivers and all the professionals involved in health care. We all vote, and it's votes they will need to maintain their offices! We must make things happen!
 
When you travel to Atlanta for Medtrade this October, bring with you as many members of your “team” as possible. Instead of asking what’s happening, let us make things happen!
 
[Click Here to Register for Medtrade]  Don't forget to use the promotional code SHELLY to get your Free Expo Pass!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Value?

Can you put a true value to your company?

When I picture a typical DME/HME dealer, this is what comes to mind:

Your family has been making a good living from your company! The many customers who enjoy shopping at your store appreciate everything you supply to them as well as all the pro-bono benefits you give. Your entire staff shares in this! The family caregivers who shop for Mom or Dad know how important your services are, and they say “thank you” every time they see you.

DME/HME is your profession, and you are very proud of your operation and every thing that bears your name. But you and your peers are under attack, not for what you perform but because a very bad element has us draining out funds and creating havoc.

To help protect the future of this typical DME/HME dealer (and many of you are a match for my above description), here are several things that you should do. These blogs have made our position rather clear: There must be a way of licensing DME/HME providers. After all, we are dealing with sick and bedridden patients. Licensure is one viable solution.

Another answer is to get legislation passed (H.R.4920 and H.R.5083), or the future may become NIL for all. As we have reported, similar bills, both last year and the year before, never got out of committee.

Why did that happen? Did everyone work as hard as they could to get results? The state DME associations are contacting every congressman in their states to encourage them to get on board. They are having excellent success, but Tempus Fugit.

We now have a leader with Tom Ryan, President of AAHomecare. If we all get behind him, DME/HME dealers, manufacturers, vendors, industry associations, we will win. He is leading us, and is trying to raise sufficient support to bring these efforts to a successful conclusion.

Consider the value of your company. The decision to communicate with your state association and AAHomecare, and pay the necessary dues, is one worth making! If we do not win, what will happen to your company? Its value will disappear, and so will everything you have worked so hard to protect.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Greg Thompson

Director of Media Relations,
Greg Thompson
I did not realize how often I have read the weekly Medtrade Monday that we all receive with our e-mails. We take many things for granted, but we should not fail to recognize who prepares this message.

In order to reach your goals, it is imperative you understand what is happening almost daily, which can affect your business. You realize that if you don't, your company may fall aside. Medtrade Monday is your guide to the most important opportunities you find at the Exhibitions! It is only a few weeks away, 10/21-10/23, in Atlanta.

I want all of our readers to know that the source of this weekly mailing is Greg Thompson. I am very proud that I have met and know who Greg is! He is without a doubt a master author. Greg is a real gentleman. It is everyone’s privilege to read what he prepares in such clear words. Job 6:25: “How forcible are right words!” There is no way I can say that any better.

Greg will be very busy at Medtrade, but when you see him, please say, “Thank you.” I know how much he will appreciate hearing this from you.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dress Code

What a difference a dress code can make! In a previous blog we wrote about providing your staff with jackets. Your company logo and the name of the employee are all that should be on the jacket. This modest expense is one with a great ROI.

Whatever you can do to make your store a focal point in the community is vital. The first impression a customer gets when they enter your showroom makes a big difference. It must be appropriate and positive. When a customer can clearly identify the salesperson’s name, the first step is taken. When your salesperson knows the client, that is fine, however if they do not know them, they must greet them with a simple, "May I help you?"

I received a message from a DME/HME dealer reminding me of a talk I gave at a Medtrade exhibition. This dealer, as do many others, provides all his staff with jackets. He sees to it that everyone on his staff, whether a delivery person or house sales employee, wears the company jacket. His company is a very successful operation, and he feels this dress code has contributed greatly to their success.
A good friend in upstate New York told me he saw a neighbor receiving oxygen equipment from another company. Those installation technicians looked like truck drivers, not at all professional. The last person a customer sees from your company is what remains in their memory. This dealer sees to it that his delivery people dress as well as the employees in the showroom.

Your showroom must be conducive to invite the customer to shop. I have often mentioned a few other ways to make your showroom the magnet it should be. I also recommend bright lights, signage, and of course, prices displayed on all merchandise. Most people will not purchase an item that does not have a price affixed. Would you?


Please be sure there are no dark corners. Everything should be bright and cheerful! Signs identifying every department should also be visible.

A good dress code puts your clientele at ease when they shop. You will hear this repeated in nearly every seminar and lecture on marketing at Medtrade in Atlanta this October 20-23. The show will be here before you know it - Have you registered yet? Use the promo code, SHELLY to get your Free Expo Pass at registration. I'll see you there!

Monday, September 15, 2014

H.R.4920, H.R.5083 PENDING

H.R.4920: the DMEPOS Medicare Competitive Bidding Improvement Act of 2014, and H.R.5083: the Medicare DMEPOS Audit Improvement and Reform (AIR) Act of 2014.

Last year, and the year before, there were similar bills pending in Congress. Our industry failed to get them out of committee and passed; not once, but twice! We must not allow that to happen again. In a baseball game, three strikes and you are out.

I am not talking about a ballgame; I am worried about an industry. You are concerned about all your customers and patients
. You should also be concerned about making a living for your staff and yourself. Every effort must be made to get these bills passed STAT.

 
I do not wish to paint a negative outcome. I realize that all DME/HME providers are aware of the consequences if our industry falls down another time. Don’t let this happen!

I know many dealers will participate at Medtrade in Atlanta this October. This year will probably have the highest number of attendees. But when I realize there probably are about 15,000 DME dealers in the country, I wonder why we aren’t able to get more dealers involved. When we do, everyone will benefit!

How many providers are sitting quietly, waiting for someone else to fight for them? There is no one else. Every DME/HME dealer must give more than lip service. Because this year it is so critical to have H.R.4920 and H.R.5083 passed, so we all must take steps to become dues paying members of AAHomecare and the State DME Associations.


These organizations have the power to help us win this battle, but in order to succeed, they need our support! There are no excuses for not participating, because there is really far, far too much at stake. If every DME/HME provider and dealer will cooperate and work diligently as a team, we can get these bills passed, and then when we convene at the Medtrade Exhibition next month, we can make that meeting a celebration! Can we do this? YES, we can!

Get on board, and we will win.

Don't forget to use the promo code, SHELLY, when you register for Medtrade to receive a Free Expo Pass.