Monday, April 21, 2014

DME/HME Will Win

Since I returned from my tour of duty during WWII, one thing I learned has never left me. It is the importance of teamwork. We all protected each other and we won the war!

Today our industry is fighting for survival. CMS is doing their best to delay and hold back reimbursements. That, too, is a most devastating problem, which requires a strong team, as does the “competitive” bid legislation. There are many more puzzles, and these two are a good starting point.

We should have the ability to bring about changes but we DO NOT yet have a strong enough team. God only knows how hard your state DME associations and AAHomecare are working full time on your behalf. They do a tremendous job, but still are not quite powerful enough to do it all

Why? This is because there is still a stupendous number of DME/HME dealers who do NOT belong or support these associations. Too many of them are “penny wise and pound poor.” The dues they pay to the associations to keep them in business are so little. Their accountant is aware that it is a normal business expense. He, too, will assure his clients that joining will help keep them solvent.

When Thelma goes shopping she looks for the BO-GO items that we normally purchase. You know, “Buy one - Get one” free! If every dealer who reads this will make the phone call, as I suggested in A Redundancy, you will bring new members to the cause and then we will win. When the number of “dues-paying” members rises sufficiently, everyone will benefit. NOT JUST THE ASSOCIATION MEMBERS.

WILL YOU GET ON BOARD? If everyone just brings in only one new member, it would make the associations greatly more effective, and when the new members recognize what happened after they joined, well - how about that?

Friday, April 18, 2014

AAH, Tom Ryan, Congress

http://www.live365.com/stations/msperduti
I have been patiently watching and waiting for this day. Yes, today we finally turned the corner. When I opened Safari on my computer this morning I received a few more messages than usual. There were at least two dozen commenting about Tom Ryan and AAH carrying the message that all DME/HME providers look for.

Tom is bringing to the attention of Congress and CMS that they seemed to have lost their responsibility to the millions of beneficiaries of Medicare and Medicaid.

In their zeal to save money, which is being funneled out of the system faster than it can be replaced, they aren't watching where it is going. Tom is showing them the high quality of the services the DME dealer provides. Tom is proud of the efforts of DME/HME companies. He is also calling to the attention of Congress that there are no specific rules and few regulations which leaves a void. This void gives the unscrupulous element an opening to steal dollars!

When I saw the large number of messages that I received this morning applauding his efforts it restored my faith in people. Now, more than ever we have a leader with the courage Tom has and we must give him all the support possible. Let him know that you are really excited and then please do everything you can to support his efforts.

Call your Congressmen, involve your clientele, give the DME State Associations and AAHomecare anything, no, everything they seek because your future depends on their success.

So I say: “THANK YOU, TOM RYAN!”
 
AAHomecare President & CEO Tom Ryan was featured in the most recent episode of HME Voice, powered by Medtrade Radio and sponsored by Emerge Sales. Click here to stream the recorded episode 24/7. In the episode, Ryan answers questions submitted by DME/HME dealers like YOU!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Redundancy

I know that I have a tendency to repeat myself very often. I do this because I want to be sure my messages are received and hopefully they will enable you to respond.

I have been preaching how important it is during these very threatening days for our industry to work together. No one can stand-alone! So, once again, I ask that every HME/DME dealer become a member of the organizations that guide our industry. As a team we will bring about passage of the Marketing Pricing Program (HR 1717) which is still sitting in committee where it doesn’t benefit anyone!

As the principal of your DME/HME company, open the Yellow Pages of the local telephone company directory. Write the numbers of each DME/HME location listed; include the ones you know as well as all the others.

Please call each of them on the phone. Do not be bashful; you have to protect your company, and so do they! I assure you they will be delighted to hear from you.

If you are a member of AAHomecare and your state DME association, ask them to provide you with all the tools you need to solicit new members. If you are not currently a member; become one STAT. As a member, simply tell them you plan to stay in business and also want them to stay in business.

I have been in this industry for more than 60 years, and have always supported the organizations that make dealers more formidable. I have seen how hard the organizations work together to get legislations passed. The efforts of AAH and the state associations has made DME/HME into a major profession.

But today, right now, it is sink or swim time! Please make this attempt to protect your business, your family, your employees and all your clientele. Do not allow all your efforts and hard work to go to waste.
 
Our industry needs you and you need our industry. Why not work together?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

LinkedIn

Communication is the key to accomplishing any and everything. These days the luxury of standing alone is no longer practical. This is why I so appreciate reading posts on LinkedIn. I can see and study what other folks in our profession have to say and then pass it on.

I do not believe that I have posted more than once or twice on LinkedIn. I feel social media is for another generation, and I am sure they all benefit by this sharing with one another. I try, via these blogs, to share information on current events and marketing ideas that have proven successful. It took me a rather long time to prepare the blog about “Licensure”. This, in today’s economy, can be the salvation for many DME/HME dealers.

LinkedIn! To me, the part “linked” indicates that you are part of a chain and “in” is that it is a chain of peers. Knowing this presents the opportunity to tighten the chain and when you are all “LinkedIn’ with AAHomecare and your state DME association, a successful future for all will emerge.

Since I personally am in my late 80’s, I can only suggest. I am no longer a dealer but an old C.O.C. (contemptuous old curmudgeon) who tries very hard to listen to all of you and then hopefully l can share the ideas that I receive from you.


If you have had a successful promotion or did something of interest, please don’t hesitate to tell me about what you did. Send me an e-mail (
shelly.prial@att.net) or call me (321-259-7127) and I will include your idea on one of my blogs!

Then we will all be “LinkedIn”.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Licensure

This will not happen unless we all work together! There has to be a way to prevent dishonest or “quick buck” operators from being allowed to participate as DME/HME providers.

How many dollars do unscrupulous companies steal out of the system? I would not be surprised if I found nearly half of the reimbursements CMS and Medicare pay for are services that are not rendered.

This can be stopped if there are very specific standards to be met before your operation is allowed to participate as a dealer or provider. I am a pharmacist; I had to pass a very difficult test to receive my license. Then, when I built my pharmacy, I could not open the doors until it, too, passed inspection. There were standards for every item required to fill a prescription. It took four years studying in college, and then I had to serve 12 months working in a pharmacy as an apprentice.

But anyone who wants to rent a store or an office or maybe just list a telephone number and call it “Jiminy Crickets Home Healer Care” can solicit business. Call
1-234-567-8910 and the company is in operation.

Who is running it? It could be "Jack the Ripper". Yes, that is the truth! When I was working as a manufacturer’s rep, I met many of these quick buck operators. They monitored how much was billed to Medicare and Medicaid. When the reimbursements started to approach a seventh figure, they closed the doors and reopened the next day as "John the Curer".

How long can this ridiculous situation continue? How can the great bulk of legitimate hard-working honest DME/HME dealers and providers remain in business when CMS has run out of money? From what I see reported, that reality is almost here now!

There must be some very dramatic changes made STAT. Licensure is the key!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Year 2013

What happened in 2013? A recent poll in HMENews indicated that last year was worse than expected! 58% of the respondents reported a decrease of revenue of 10% or more. However, 63% believe that in 2014 net revenues will remain steady and INCREASE!

Well, this certainly isn’t a bed of roses, but I feel that our industry did NOT take as bad a fall as anticipated!

After attending Medtrade Spring in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, I returned home feeling very optimistic about the future of DME/HME. The attendees all seemed to be on a mission to find new OTC cash sale products. They filled the lecture rooms and listened to the speakers making suggestions on how to develop new sources of income. It was just reported that US demand for home medical equipment is forecasted to grow 8.2 percent annually, to $12.6 billion in 2018.

Yes, 2014 has the potential to be a super year for DME/HME providers; but like anything else worth doing, there is a great deal that has to be done in order to make it become a reality!

New legislation, some pending, must be passed. CMS has to be sure that prompt reimbursement is made when properly invoiced. Perhaps a licensure program must be established for DME as there is for other health care providers?

To be sure that 2014 will be the year that will see DME/HME recognized for their service, one small step has to be made. Every dealer or provider has to become a dues paying member of AAHomecare and their state DME association.

We have no choice. Tempus Fugit and when we band together, work together, become politically activated, and bring our clientele into the picture, 2014 will be the banner year we seek. I have received messages from several readers who feel the upturn has already begun.

Get on board, and let us make 2014 the year that we join forces and make a change from storekeepers to professionals. We must earn the same respect of pharmacists, physicians, nurses, and therapists. 2014 will be the year this all happens.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Stop & Think

We are all so busy these days, and that is nothing to be ashamed of! But by being busy without a game plan, you will not achieve all of your goals.

HME/DME, as a profession, has many frightening legislations hanging over its head. You also have to wonder how long now it will take to receive reimbursements for services and supplies rendered. Some of the “delays” CMS and Medicare are putting into place make no sense.

How best can we address these difficulties? Stop and think! Have a game plan.

We, as independent providers and dealers, have some very effective tools, which should be brought into play. Our customers and their family caregivers have more at stake than you realize. They do not wish to lose your service and care. They do not want to travel about to obtain their supplies. Newspaper reports never tell the entire story; you must tell your customers what is happening, and how it will affect them. That is your responsibility.

I spoke to several dealers at Medtrade in Las Vegas, and they shared some of what they do. They send out e-mails to their customers, patients, and yes, the family caregivers. They report what is happening and are very pleased with the support obtained in that fashion. The information is culled from AAHomecare and their state association.

Stop and think! Why not do this? It is an inexpensive and very effective method to build support. When a Congressman hears not just from you, but your clientele as well, he too will stop and think. Votes are what keeps them in office, and these people vote! That should be your game plan.

To be even more effective, every DME/HME dealer should be a member of both their state DME association and AAHomecare. This is where your information will come from. If you are not one currently, please sign on ASAP. I want you to remain solvent so that I will be able to see you in Atlanta this October.

Stop and think!