Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Next Step to Save our Profession

There has been a great deal of talk about these two programs, Medicare and Social Security. They may become bankrupt! Is that possible?

Yes, it is very likely to happen if we sit by idly and not lift a finger to bring about some needed changes. One of the great things about our country is that as a democracy, we “the people” can accomplish a great deal when we act in unison.  Since our industry, depends a great deal on these programs, we must gather our resources and then move forward, not sit back and wait for someone else to react.

In the September Issue of HomeCare Magazine I wrote “Time for Teamwork” and spoke about the importance of our State DME and National Associations.   At the Medtrade Exposition in Atlanta I saw each DME Association hard at work to bring together a tidal wave of support. Every association was working with one another on behalf, of not only their members, but also for our industry.

The first thing I became aware of is that the Medicare Trust Fund is sufficiently funded to last until year 2024.  At that time, if no changes were made Medicare would be able to pay only 87% of expenses. So we see that there are just about a dozen years to correct that shortfall. Social Security has a different life span; it can provide benefits until year 2037.

Dr. Tom Price speaking at Power for Funding
What can we do now? It is imperative that we all work together as a team to bring about a new approach to resolve these difficulties.

One of our tasks is to get the MPP legislation passed. This will allow a great deal of relief to all DME/HME dealers and rid the industry of the offensive competitive bid. I was able to meet Representative Tom Price at Medtrade. It is reassuring to know that many of our elected legislators are recognizing what he has introduced.  I was just one of many attendees at Medtrade who were able to have that privilege. Getting this bill through Congress must be high on our list of projects. The State and National associations are leading the way to get through Congress. Please give them your support.

Fraud and abuse is the major enemy we have to eliminate from the system. When we see published in the newspapers how many dollars they suck out of the system, the solution becomes very apparent. If we can clean out this abuse, there would be sufficient money for Medicare. We must give 100% support to our associations to get this accomplished. Get on board now. Your future depends on their efforts so they can obtain the results you require to save our business.

AA Homecare President, Tyler Wilson, at the Stand Up for Homecare Reception
There are very specific goals that our industry must achieve. I commented on the two must important, MPP and fraud & abuse. However you cannot do that alone, but you, as a DME/HME provider can make great strides forward when combining your efforts with others. I am sure you applaud the work of AAHomecare, NAIMES and the state DME Associations. They get much good work accomplished, but they can do a great deal more. That is where you come in.

If you are not a dues-paying member of these professional organizations, please become one now. They need you and then they will help maintain your company, but you must help them with your participation (both financial and working with them). If you are currently a member, and then by all means help them by soliciting your friends and competitors to also get on board. If we can get membership as close to 100% as possible, we will see much more completed to protect us and our clientele.

Always keep in mind the many patients, senior citizens and customers who keep your company solvent. They are a very powerful ally to keep DME/HME locations running efficiently.

They depend on your ability to keep them in good health and they will rally to support your efforts. I spoke with an active dealer at Medtrade. He uses the e–mail to keep his customers apprised of what is happening that might affect them. He offers a few specials and he shares good health ideas every few weeks. He told me that after each release he gets requests from others to receive his messages.  (Look for an affordable and simple e-mail marketing program like Constant Contact.)

You, too, can do the same. Your clientele can become supporters for the MPP. They will help us get rid of the yoke of the competitive bid and become active partners working with you to eliminate fraud and abuse.

It is amazing how much you, an active HME/DME provider can accomplish when working in tandem with you clientele and your national and state associations. In the many years I have been writing similar articles, speaking at many association meetings and listening to the feedback one thing has become crystal clear.  Everyone of your can be a leader.  I ask that each DME/HME provider gather together your customers, their family caregivers and then as a team will make a difference. That is what has made the United States of America such a fantastic country. It has always listened to VOX POPULI (Voice of the People) and by providing the facts and guidance, we will benefit!

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