Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Promoting Services

Over the years, I have heard so many success stories from dealers who developed profitable programs in cooperation with their preferred vendors. Don’t overlook their potential and assistance, both financial and with personnel, when you contemplate your advertising.
Here is a scenario, which was shared with me by a DME dealer:
This dealer chose the product he planned to promote, and described the program in detail. He picked an automatic sphygmomanometer that retailed for over $100.00. His company placed an advertisement in the local weekly newspaper. The cost for the ad was rather minimal and the preferred vendor shared part of that cost.

The ad invited people to their location on a Saturday. There would be no cost to attend! The store extended business hours from the usual Saturday closing of 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM. The representative from the manufacturer was there to help take everyone's blood pressure. A nurse was present to oversee all the activities.

This was also promoted by a sign in his showroom window about the free “take your blood pressure day.” He sent a product sheet in a mailing to all of his customers, the names taken directly from his computer, inviting them to have their blood pressure checked that Saturday. He informed all of the physicians in the community of what they were doing and was pleased with the compliments they received.

The number of people who attended, and the sales made that day, was very impressive. In a comparatively small town, they sold about two dozen units and they clocked more than 90 people who attended for their “free” blood pressure reading. Each patient was given a card with the date, time, and blood pressure reading. Of course the card also showed the company name, logo, address and telephone number. 
He added that in the two weeks following, they sold another dozen or so units. A success? Yes!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Resolve Problems

If our industry had no problems to resolve, that would be a surprise to me. But, unfortunately there are quite a few which must be analyzed ASAP; however, there are very few answers. Still, everyone feels they know what to do. I receive requests daily to review many of these ideas in my blogs. I do not have the answers, but “what to do” will be found with AAHomecare and your state DME Association.

As I have tried to point out often, a significant number of DME/HME providers are still not dues paying members of the associations who have the answers. With everything that has to be changed, there is a need for sufficient funds to achieve accomplishments.

If you are not a member of your state DME association and AAHomecare, please become one now. The HME Audit Key is just one of a myriad of legislation hanging over your head.

You can make a difference. You, as a DME dealer in your community, know your competitors. Make them your allies. They face the same difficulties you do, but when working as a team, together you can get positive results.

I have seen this done successfully in other industries as well as in DME/HME. If every member of the associations will pick up the telephone and invite each of their competitors to join both the state association and AAH, this will make a huge difference.

They know who your company is, where you are located, and will be very pleased to hear your request. If each reader of this blog picks up the phone and asks them to join forces with you and the associations, they will respond. They, too, have exactly the same mountains to cross. They, too, are watching profits decrease and have the same fears. Your invitation will be affirmed and you will both benefit.

Dr. Seuss: “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so… get on your way.”

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veterans Day

When I returned from Germany almost 70 years ago, I felt that everyone in the world was sure we had just won the “war to end all wars.” A few years later when Thelma and I were married, I was sure I would be invited back for another tour of duty, this time in Korea. Thank goodness, I wasn’t.

How many police actions, or by whatever name they identify the fighting, have American soldiers been the policemen of the world? It seems the United States stands alone. All our allies send us their support, but very few men to help.

World War 1 formally ended on the 11th hour of the 11th month in 1918. It appears storm clouds are gathering once again and I pray with all my heart that the United States no longer sends our troops to clean up someone else’s mess.

All I want to say is join with me and let our congressmen and others in DC know we will support all efforts to prevent another war from starting.

Benjamin Franklin said: “There never was a good war or a bad peace.”

In the Book of Common Prayer: “Give peace in our time, O Lord.”


For DME/HME, The Future is Now

There no longer is a tomorrow for our industry. There is only today - right now! CMS is moving forward with their “reductions” and other means of saving money for the services and supplies that DME/HME dealers provide. We have to stop them from this discounting before it is too late!

We must respond the instant anything happens, or it may become too late to get results. DME/HME dealers and providers must act fast and in full cooperation with AAH and their state DME association to protect their customers and their livelihood!

CMS receives invoices for services rendered daily. Some of these are false! Will we ever be able to stop fraud and abuse? Yes, by licensure, and that is another difficulty to resolve.

Our industry has been shouting about the inequity in the reimbursements dealers receive for the supplies and services they provide to their clients. There is very little left behind after CMS makes their cut. There is a big difference between complaining and reacting. So NOW we must do more!

Congressmen do not listen to our complaints, but they will listen to the voice of their community; the citizens who vote to keep them in congress. So all of these folks should be our allies and must be asked to work with us to get results.

The best way to accomplish this is for you, your spouse, and key employees join as many local groups, including church, school, civic, chamber of commerce, and Rotary organizations, as possible. There are so many of these groups, and each will be sources of information for you and will help carry your message for you.

Become joiners, become members, of local organizations. GET ON BOARD!

Friday, November 7, 2014


The votes have been counted. We will have a different Congress next year, basically all one party: Republican. However, there are still a few things we can accomplish STAT. There are bills pending, each of which, when passed, will affect DME (and they are neither Republican nor Democrat). They are all common sense bills and will benefit the entire population.

Congress will be in session for a few scant weeks before the newly elected or re-elected are sworn in. I will list the pending legislation here, although I am sure you know them. This is the time for action. 

The future of our industry can be secured if we all will do the following:
  1. Contact any congressman who has not been re-elected. Ask for support to get the bills listed below out of committee and passed. They will be there for another few weeks and have the power to do that. Be sure they understand the beneficiaries of this are senior citizens as well as the ill and the needy.
  2. Contact the newly elected congressmen with the same request. Call their local office and ask for the HLA (health legislative assistant) or the office manager, if they are newly elected.
Do this as soon as possible. Get the name and telephone number of who will be your contact. You will be one of the first to make this request and you will now have both someone to carry your message and a friend to stay in contact with.

I still have folks in many offices that I befriended years ago and you too will develop the same valuable resources.

The bills pending are:

For more information and literature, please contact your sate DME Association or AAHomecare. They will very cheerfully provide the tools you require to take action. When we all work together and make these calls, I know that our industry will be able to serve all of those in need!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Solving Our Problem

Jay Witter, AAHomecare: “It may seem like the industry isn’t making any progress on resolving its myriad issues, but this is not the problem.”

Our industry is so fortunate to have people like Jay, who care, as leaders. It is such a privilege to work with him and AAH as we are scrambling out of a difficult situation. Jay and all of the AAH team are showing DME/HME dealers the way to remain successful. They get very good co-operation from their members, but that is insufficient.

Far too many dealers have not “enlisted” yet and they need more troops and more dollars to be able to meet all their goals.

I am sure everyone is aware that I am a retired pharmacist. When I ran my pharmacies, we belonged to both national associations as well as the state and county ones. We considered the cost of membership, including going to meetings and conventions, as a part of running our company. Our accountant agreed!

The guidance and other benefits garnered from these memberships contributed to our success. The ROI from this was that now, in my late 80s, I am able to participate with all of you and ask you to do the same.

Jay is correct! That’s not the “problem”. The problem is they need many more “dues paying members!” The holidays are almost here. As a gift to yourself, contact friends and competitors to get on board. If every current member will just get one new member before the New Year, membership will double and the future of the industry will be insured.

Thank you.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Get on Board

The principal of a DME/HME company must be able to grow together with their company. It is important to recognize that our industry has changed from when you first opened to where it is today; you also must make adjustments!

AAHomecare and each state DME association are working diligently on your behalf. They are doing their very best to get the pending legislations out to the floor of Congress where they can be voted on and passed. The problem is that we have been unable to get the support of a sufficient number of legislators to accomplish this.

For the last few years, as an industry we tried to get these bills voted on and now we are obliged to start once again. Why are we unable to succeed and get Congress to get these pending legislations passed, such as H.R. 4920? There are too few DME/HME dealers involved!

It is estimated there are about 14,000 DME/HME companies in the United States. Then I see how few are dues-paying members of the associations who can get these things done. It is less than 10% who join; all the rest are “Freddy, the free loaders.” More dealers need to cooperate.

I know that I am preaching to the choir for the most part. But as I have asked over and over, I need you all to participate. If you are a member, then call your competitor and your friends and try to get them to belong!

The necessary funds to bring about the changes in legislation we require come from the dues paid. The more dealers and providers who get on board, the more effective they will become. Together we will save our industry and prevent any more dealers from closing their doors.

The industry, DME/HME, has a wonderful future; there are more senior citizens than ever. Those who are sick and ailing want to stay at home. They are your market - Protect it! Get on the phone, make calls to the congressmen and to your associates, and if you are not a dues-paying member of these associations, become one.