Monday, December 6, 2010

"New" Year Approaching

What does the New Year hold for our industry? I have given this question a great deal of thought. How will 2011 be different from this year?

I do not have an accurate figure of how many providers submitted bids nor how many have been awarded. I do know that there will not be an adequate number of providers available to supply all the recipients. I also am concerned and have some serious questions about some of the providers who were winners.

Here are some of the doubts that I have. Will there be a sufficient number of providers located in many of the smaller villages and towns whose patients have always been receiving excellent service locally? One answer I received is that beneficiaries can get their supplies from providers outside their home base, such as prescriptions being provided by mail order. Won’t that be a comfort for senior citizens and their family caregivers?

Another is how many of the winners have gone out of business since they submitted their bids and others who are now contemplating bankruptcy? There is another side to this coin. Do many existing providers face such a dire future in 2011? Is there any logic in limiting the number of companies to supply every needy patient? There is a schedule of fees (HCPCS) for all providers to receive a “fair” reimbursement. Why reduce the number of dealers?

I can go on and on. There should be a license to become a provider, which can be suspended or revoked. There must be inspections showing the providers meet specific standards. There should be training, such as that pharmacy techs obtain, for employees. These are some of the controls, which should be in place.

The country now suffers with nearly 10% of the work force unemployed. How many more people will be put out of work? Small businesses, like HME providers provide jobs and are taxpayers.

Now is the time for providers and dealers to march in unison to change these negative considerations. That can be done in conjunction with AAHomecare and your state HME association. Build OTC cash sales, become aggressive merchants! I am always available to answer any questions (877-553-5127). I want to see every provider grow in 2011.

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