Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Las Vegas

It is coming so quickly! What is coming so fast? The annual Medtrade Spring Conference in Las Vegas, March 30 to April 1, 2015! The door will be opening soon, and you must make every effort to attend!
 
This year, Medtrade Spring has prepared the most critical and important conference ever for DME/HME dealers.

So much was accomplished in Atlanta at Medtrade this past October. Now we must turn all of our efforts towards making another major step for the DME/DME profession. In the spring, when we all gather together again, we will be back to reach the goals we started and make further plans for the coming years.

The number of conference sessions scheduled is at a new high. Even more important is the quality of the speakers who will be sharing their knowledge with attendees. This is also at a new level; the cream of the crop has been lined up to lecture for you. Every DME/HME provider will find answers on how to expand their company, increase profits, and find many suitable opportunities to accomplish their goals.

To best harvest the most from this convention, consider bringing with you one or two staff members.
 
The ROI on this investment is stupendous. I have spoken to many dealers about this and they all told me the benefit of bringing key employees has made it very easy for them to expand sales and profits. As a consequence of bringing staff, they were able to draw new plans and new targets when they returned home. It is amazing how much your staff will contribute when given the opportunity.

There will be many vendors offering OTC cash sale opportunities. This appears to be the magnet for many dealers. There will be all of the manufacturers who have served you for many years and lots of new ones as well.

AAHomecare, the state DME associations, the buying groups and the publications you enjoy will be waiting for you. Make sure you are there.
 
Registration for Medtrade Spring 2015 is officially open. Attendees who sign up now are eligible for considerable savings. Click here to register.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Congratulations - One of Our Own Elected to Office

It takes a great deal of courage to even think about running for a political office these days. Politics is very different from operating a business, especially a DME/HME location. This is another full time job
 
One dealer has taken a giant step to both protect his company and his community in Carroll, Iowa. I am proud to announce that one of us has accomplished that step. He decided that he could be the voice of his community as well as that of our profession. He chose to compete for office!
 
Representative Brian Best
Iowa House District 12
I am telling you about Mr. BRIAN BEST! As seen in last week's installment of Medtrade Monday, he is the principal of BestMED Respiratory, and his company is well-recognized in the community for all the wonderful things they have already accomplished.
 
Brian threw his hat in the ring and successfully competed against a two term incumbent. He is now Representative Brian Best, Iowa House District 12. He made it happen.
 
Brian is an active member of MAMES, the Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services. His company also belongs to AAHomecare. He and his wife, Sharon, began their career in DME/HME in 2001 when they opened BestMED Respiratory. Four years later, in 2005, they developed a sleep-testing facility, Western Iowa Sleep.
 
I am looking forward to meeting Brian, hopefully in Las Vegas, at Medtrade Spring. If he is able to attend, Thelma and I will all have the pleasure of seeing and meeting one fantastic young man!
 
 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Today

As I began writing these blogs some five years ago, the one topic I seldom brought up was the capital of our country, Washington, D.C. You do not need any comments from me, when everything your company and business has to know about DC comes from your state DME association and AAHomecare. How fortunate we are to have these organizations working as hard as they can on behalf of their members, and also on behalf of the many non-dues paying DME/HME dealers as well. I want to see this changed. Every provider must become a dues-paying member and support these organizations, simply because they keep you in business.

Since the actual existence of our industry is so dependent on Medicare and other programs for a source of cash flow, dealers should make every effort to maintain their state and federal connections. They are all very important!

At this year’s Medtrade Exhibition in Atlanta I was delighted to see dealers carefully reviewing all the OTC cash sale opportunities that are available. These are the exhibitors you must recognize and utilize for growth and increased profits. The object of all DME/HME providers is to choose those products that fit into your current operation and find one or two others which can be developed successfully.

I stopped at one booth where the young lady was showing skin care products imported from Belgium. I was there as an old friend was hearing the pitch. I stood next to him and listened. He made a purchase for a small display. Since he set up the display in his showroom, he has already placed a re-order. OTC cash sales, all small, but with turnover, all become large.

Carefully study the Show Directory you brought home from Medtrade. I am sure everyone will find several new products that would be appropriate for their company. Contact each to send you literature and then working with your staff, choose several.

Our industry is so broad and there are many, many new opportunities waiting for you. When you see and hear what they offer, choose those that fit. New products to help expand your market are necessary today!

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.”


AMEN!

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!