Monday, July 25, 2011

The Alphabet Soup of Audits

What is an audit? Webster says: an audit is “a formal, often periodic examination and checking of accounts or financial records to verify their correctness.” When I owned my retail pharmacies, we were inspected once or twice annually and always received commendations for our operations. CMS and OIG have the responsibility of being sure that money is not being siphoned out of Medicare.

They have put into place some new requirements: ZPIC, RAC, CERT, MAC, PSC are all new audits. It appears that HME providers have a great deal of alphabet soup to digest. There should not be any problem for most providers other than the time required to answer these audits. My problem is if the OIG or CMS be able to discover who the providers are, or should I say felons, that are stealing from the system?

AAHomecare is leading the fight to be sure these audits are “FAIR.” From what I have read it appears that they go to every dealer with the attitude something being done incorrectly (note, I did not say dishonestly).

Add to the alphabet soup “ORG.” When I speak to providers and ask why they do not belong to AAHomecare or their state DME association I get a very weak answer. “We do not want to spend any additional hard earned dollars.” My answer is the few bucks they think they may be saving can cause them to lose their company. Now “ORG”- if you do not join AAHomecare “ORG” and your state “ORG”, you are making a very major mistake.

At the Medtrade in Las Vegas I spoke to about a dozen state association executives and to many of the AAHomecare team. I know what they accomplish! They work so hard to protect their members and our industry. When you give them your support the ROI you will receive is that your business will continue to flourish. The “ORGs” can do so much more with your support. Get on board now! They will support you, they will tone down the audits, they will find a solution to the competitive bid difficulties, and most important is that “ORG” will keep you solvent.

Creating a Successful Retail Operation (Part III)

One of the largest markets in the United States is that for home medical equipment. The problem is that I do not see enough small independents earning their share of this market.

There is no easy road to success, but the road is there. It takes planning, as I tried to outline in the two previous messages. As recommended, work with all of your employees. I have always discovered that they usually know more about their little sphere than the principal does. When you listen to them and encourage their activities, the results will be worth all the effort.

One of the best tools available to you is attending the informative state association meetings. There you will hear interesting speakers and meet many of the reps who call on you. But even more important is that with the support they give you, and all the providers in your state, they will protect your companys! Whether you have difficulties with Medicaid, reimbursements or local politics, the state associations work for their member. They can make contacts, speak on your behalf and they accomplish a great deal.

Another big opportunity can be found is Medtrade. This is always the Mecca for DME/HME dealers and providers. You will meet all of the manufacturers at their displays and learn what they can do to help you. Listen to key speakers and return home with many new ideas. Speak with your peers, work with state directors and members. It is all there for you!

Medtrade 2011 will feature a new Retail Education Center that will highlight the opportunities this area offers. The idea is to offer you ideas through the conference and the Expo to ensure you have access to the right ideas and the right partners.

Visit today to learn more about the retail-focused events and opportunities.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Creating a Successful Retail Operation (Part II)

When approaching the concept of retail sales for the HME industry, think of yourself as a customer walking into your showroom. Think of what you like to see when you are shopping. Customers enjoy seeing a well-arranged, well-lit showroom. They will buy products they need or might require in the future. They want to look at the retail prices on every item on display. I know that most people do not ask “how much?” When an item is not properly price marked, they invariably will walk away.

Retail cash sales make a big difference at the end of each day. Your daily deposit at the bank will show how big an impact those cash sales have made.

To help develop new retail cash sales, I suggest that you work with the reps from your preferred vendors. They can advise you about the products they have and the success other providers have experienced. In a previous blog I showed you how important they are for your company.

Remember what your market is before you make any commitment. This is best accomplished by reviewing the demographics of your community once again. Then when you, your sales team and the sales rep work together, you can choose those items that will move well. Think about this and recognize what a new retail sales opportunity will bring you into new niche markets.

By the same token, developing your strengths and working to build new volume from existing bases of business, respiratory therapy services and rehab, in particular, are very rewarding. HME providers who have really solicited their market again for these niches have been very successful.

Can a you do both, build cash sales and develop existing sales? Yes, but that depends on the strength of your staff and the ability of the principal to be a juggler and monitor several activities at the same time. Work to build your retail cash sales opportunities and develop your niche markets! Use your strength as a specialty distributor (rehab and respiratory being the major two) and expand retail cash sales. Can you do this? I think so.

Get started now, do not wait, build retail cash sales. Work with your employees, your accountant and manufacturer sales reps. Do not allow the onerous legislations affect your business. Replace what you may lose.