Monday, July 26, 2010

Business Operations Part III: Medicare and Beyond

I have received messages from a number of friends about reimbursements from Medicare. They seem to feel that it would be better for them if they opted out of the Medicare program.

The amount of work involved, the low reimbursements, bids, and so forth. I could write pages about how HME providers feel about the Medicare program, but why? Everyone who reads this knows the answer. However, I feel that the loss of confidence in the program is not a very good reason to make a dramatic step, which could prove to be wrong.

After much discussion at the last few Medtrade events with providers, speakers, and politicians (yes, politicians), one thing became very clear. Medicare is something that we all must learn to live with!

One cannot turn away neighbors and clients who today depend on Medicare! By the same token, Medicare should never be one’s largest source of income. One speaker made a very sage comment last year; he said to look at Medicare as a “loss leader.” Notice the large ads the big marketers use offering products at very low prices. These are “loss leaders” aimed to bring you into their shop.

If you take this attitude, accept Medicare (and Medicaid), but only as a minor segment of your business you can live with them. Look at Medicare as your “loss leader.” The better marketeers all have brightly lit showrooms and adept salespeople. They send out mailings and place ads. They visit all the local associations and churches and work very hard to develop their OTC cash sales.

Indeed, you can live with Medicare but work to develop more OTC cash sales! Your “loss leader,” Medicare, will keep people coming into your location.

1 comment:

  1. I think 'selling' is still an unlearned skill at many HME locations. Advertising/placing a brochure on a referral source's desk are a very small part of the selling process. Yet too often this is the only action an HME takes to acquire additional business.


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