Thursday, February 28, 2013


Interesting things happen when least expected and often these will open new doors for your DME/HME Company. I once received a request wanting to know if I had three and four-inch elastic bandages in stock. 

The phone call came from the local prison, which was less than a mile away from my location. I took the order. It was not a very large one but I delivered it personally. I did that because I wanted to meet the person who placed the order. This proved to be a most interesting experience. I asked to meet the P.A. so I could hand deliver the package. A call was made and this was approved. I had to go through a rather  interesting body check and then an armed guard took me to the purchasing office. It seems that he, too, wanted to meet me.

The purchasing agent gave me the P.O. and we had an intriguing conversation. They could purchase up to a specific dollar amount of items they needed STAT. He also explained how the prisons sent out bids. After a little research on their part, my company was approved to receive bids. Since nearly all the items requested were standard equipment we inventoried and the competition was big national med-surg companies, my company was awarded many bids. The competition sold only by the case and I offered the specific quantity needed.

I then made appointments to meet the P.A.s at all the other prisons once a month. The major companies did not do that; all their communication was by mail or phone (before e-mail). These comparatively small orders added up to some very nice profitable transactions.  

So I went to jail and opened a new door for sales.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Simply said: to "persevere" means not to give up, surrender, or forget to keep track of your goal. When you persevere you will always be a winner.

DME/HME providers and dealers have to get on board to see that the competitive bid legislation is eliminated. Last year an opportunity presented itself, but we fell short. Dr. Tom Price, congressman from Georgia, introduced HR6490 (MPP) to replace the competitive bid legislation. In a rather short period, our industry contacted their congressmen and 94 agreed to support HR6490. Another few days and we would have succeeded, but it was during the Christmas Holiday and we fell behind.

Dr. Price is persevering and re-launching the bill. If we listen to our leaders and get on board, we can get this new bill out of committee and onto the floor and passed. With 100% of the DME/HME providers and dealers, in conjunction with the state DME and national associations, buying groups and associated organizations, we can become the most formidable team ever to work together. This legislation will save our industry and must be passed.

But, when I say 100%, it is critical. In the many years I have been involved, I always recognized and acknowledged the great percentage that work together! However since each and every one of us has their future at stake, I would like to see 100% achieved. Then we will succeed.

The associations need your membership to be able to continue their efforts on your behalf. You need them to lead the way. Renew your membership NOW. If you, for any reason, do not belong to your state and national association, get on board. They can help you stay in business. PERSEVERE, and fight for your company, your livelihood, your employees, your customers and for AMERICA!

If you still haven't registered for Medtrade Spring, here are a few promo codes you can use:
Conference Discount ($20 off) : MS13SMC
Free Expo Pass: MS13SMC

Saturday, February 23, 2013

There is No Tomorrow

No matter what you plan to do always keep in mind there never is a tomorrow. I am considered an elderly person (in my 86th year) and whenever something must be done, I do it STAT! For some inexplicable reason, I have never been able to accomplish anything tomorrow - I do it today!

Therefore, do not to allow opportunities to drift away. Make every effort to do things today because there no tomorrow.

What has not happened? All of our efforts did not get the MPP bill HR6490 introduced by Representative Tom Price MD out of committee. Our industry did as much as we could, but our efforts fell short. Therefore instead of “sackcloth and ashes”, we must begin anew. The 113thCongress has been sworn in and today, not tomorrow, we will reorganize and this time reach our goal.

Begin right now to start contacting your Representatives. Each of them has a local office not very far from your company. Gather all the material deemed necessary from your DME and national association. Make an appointment to go and see the local office manager. That person is a key to getting the support of your representative. The future of your company and your customers and family caregivers is at stake. It is that imperative!

At the same time go directly to Washington, DC and, speak to the HLA (health legislative assistant). Identify yourself and ask that they please deliver your message. If you need the office phone number, I have most of them and so do your state and national associations.  Obtain that number when you ask for current material.   THERE IS NO TOMORROW, and unless we get this accomplished we will struggle under the existing legislation.

All of my readers are welcome to give me a call if you have questions or want to talk: 321-259-7127 or  321-255-3885.

Friday, February 22, 2013


CMS and Congress must work out a fair reimbursement system for DME/HME providers. It is not pleasant for the recipients of Medicare or Medicaid to be unable to obtain their medications and supplies from the DME/HME dealer who has always served them.

Why do CMS and Congress think that by reducing reimbursements (which are already very low now) by 45% they will "save so much money"? In the long run, the damage that will be forced on the public will make costs only go higher! DME/HME providers who have given so much pro-bono service will disappear and then a fee for everything will be thrown at the elderly and the needy. Why?

How many providers and dealers will be obliged to close their doors? How much will it cost just for the additional unemployed? How will they replace the reduced tax collected? This will drive more people into poverty. That is what will happen! It is a giant step into a disaster.

We must all work together to make the MARKET PRICING PROGRAM (MPP) succeed. Simply stated this will set fair market prices for both recipients and providers. Equally important is that all the beneficiaries will be able to get their supplies without being forced to find a source that would probably be very inconvenient.

My office has received copies from many of the state associations. They are doing their best to alert their members. The national associations, buying groups and associated industries have been working to get the word to Congress. You must do the same!  At Medrade there will be a major effort to gather together all the troops. So please, get on the bandwagon today.

Medtrade has teamed up with leading and emerging manufacturers as well as industry experts and has worked hard to give you a source to turn to for innovation, education and inspiration, even a little motivation... 

If you haven't registered yet, there is a promo code that will get you 50% off a conference pass, which includes admission to the expo floor. 

The code is: MS13REG6PS, and you can use it to register before Feb. 26th.

I welcome phone calls from my readers, so please drop me a line if you'd like to talk or have questions. 321-259-7127 or 321-255-3885.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Will I See You in Las Vegas?

There is no doubt in my mind that this year's Medtrade Las Vegas will be bigger and better than ever before. Why?  Simply because the tools for “SUCCESS” you seek will be found on the exhibition floor.

What do I mean when I say “success?” Our friend, John Shirvinsky, in an article included in the Medtrade Monday newsletter said it so succinctly: He paraphrased Thomas Edison, saying that success “is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”

Success! We all seek it and often not get the benefits available because they are missed. Preparing and planning, bringing your key employees, all perspiring with you, to see as many vendors as possible. This is the key to a successful Medtrade.

On the exhibition floor at Mandalay Bay I want to see all dealers and providers giving that 99% perspiration. The vendors, more than 400 strong, will be showing and demonstrating many new opportunities to achieve your goals.

The ability to speak with and see that large a number of vendors and be able to make decisions in such a short period is unbelievable. Come prepared!

I have repeated this often, “attend as many seminars as possible”. The professionals who give them will guide your company into new paths.

One more comment: Find time to visit your state and national associations! They speak for you! I anticipate seeing many of you in Las Vegas. Medtrade is yours! Medtrade is mine! Medtrade is our show!

For a Free Expo Pass for Medtrade Spring, use code SHELLY13 Register today.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Conclusions

Be of good cheer! It is not Armageddon. The future of the DME/HME industry is good! The future for the United States of America is the best. In the many years I have been sharing my thoughts with all of you, I have never been more comfortable about tomorrow as I am today!

I anticipate that in 2013 several important things will happen. The recession will gradually disappear. Slowly the U.S. will rebuild and a much more comfortable era will happen. This is a very slow process, but it has already begun.  

You, the DME/HME, are the leader in your community. Yours is a “small” business, not a department store or a supermarket, but still a very important part of the community, and you will be in the forefront to show the way.

My beautiful wife, Thelma, enjoying the products that help our community at Medtrade.

The old adage is “you must spend money to make money”. The idea is to wisely spend it. Study your showroom. Is it brightly lit? Does every item have a price tag? Are there signs to guide your customers? Can you realign some of the displays? A good-looking showroom is an attraction, particularly for senior citizens.

Do all your employees wear a jacket with their name pins? Most customers appreciate seeing their name and are relaxed when they ask a question. Does your company belong to the Chamber of Commerce and also to a civic association? Should you hire another salesperson?

Think about the steps you can take now to make this New Year the best ever. At Medtrade in Las Vegas this spring, you will hear, see, and find many new opportunities.

See you at Mandalay Bay! Register for Medtrade Spring today. Feel free to give me a call at 321-259-7127 or 321-255-3885 if you just want to share stories, or talk more about this year's Medtrade Spring.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Make a Difference

Every one of us can “Make a Difference.”

Our industry just received a low blow. It was not intended to be that! CMS is blindly reaching out for ways and means to save money. But rather than accomplish decent savings, what they are doing will be so detrimental little or no good will come from it. The SPAs (single payment amounts) is a very poorly thought-out effort.

Things like this happen because we, as a profession of providers and dealers, do not work together as we should and so have lost much ability to influence changes.

We should be able to say that as an industry we will NOT accept any decline in reimbursements for eight chosen product categories. Simply NO, because our costs are more than the reimbursement. When we all say NO, where can they turn?

The time has come for our industry to join together and work more closely. I have received e-mails from both state and national associations. They have great ideas and superb solutions, but only have limited dollars.

At Medtrade Spring in Las Vegas I will speak with each association to see what can be done to build an effective team! Let us make that move and no longer allow them to use us as whipping boys.

We all are aware that DME/HME services and supplies are the most important step for good healthcare. We make sure that what the professionals order is provided with full instructions. We follow up and give tremendous service, much of it pro bono.

The affect is that SPA will make a difference for our industry. At the same time, all of our patients, customers, and their family caregivers as a consequence will also be affected. We need to make our voice heard. We need to make it heard loud and clear and we will make a difference NOW!


This week I received two unsolicited copies of The Constitution of the United States. Tuesday evening, as I am sure most of you did, I listened to President Obama’s annual “State of the Nation” report and then to the rebuttal by Senator Marco Rubio. After I heard them speak, I read the Constitution again. I am very proud of what and who we are! Don’t we have a fantastic government?

Look back to the Founding Fathers of the United States, George Washington, etc. The history books tell us how they disagreed, fought with one another but then sat down together and found answers. That is why we are such a great country!

I will admit that the politicians did not always solve all their problems peacefully; i.e. V.P. Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton disagreed about everything. Hamilton wrote a scathing report in the newspaper that led to a pistol duel in Weehawken, NJ. Can something like that happen again? 

I am watching how the two leaders, President Obama and Senator Boehner, are slowly recognizing they must, and I know they will, find a solution. But I don’t want this to be a history lesson. I want to show how important it is that our industry working together will find a stronger voice. Only as a team can we change onerous legislation and maintain our business.

At Medtrade in Las Vegas there will many discussions about what steps our industry must take. Every attendee and DME/HME provider  must participate. The state and national associations, the buying groups and the affiliates all working together will accomplish the same.

My dream is that at Medtrade in Las Vegas we will find the means to bring all of us into a united front and allow DME/HME dealers to remain solvent. Let us turn my dream into reality. Register for Medtrade Spring today.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Washington Fly-In February 26 & 27

An industry-wide Washington Fly-In is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday (2/25-2/27) coupled with a “jam the switchboard” campaign.

This is the kind of cooperative program that our industry has to continue to do over and over. Every DME/HME dealer or provider must participate. When the congressmen see and hear you in person at their office, they will listen. When you come armed with the necessary tools, they will act. AAHomecare, NAIMES, VGM and your state association will provide these tools. I know this happens because I have gone on many of these Fly-Ins.

When I went, most of my appointments were arranged by the sponsors. I always sent the Health Legislative Assistant in each office a request to please sit in when I met with the congressman. They always did. The HLA is the key person for you.

Survival of our industry and your company are at risk. Please make every effort to attend. If, for any reason you cannot go to DC, then start ASAP and get everyone of your employees, associates, customers and their family caregivers to join in this effort via the telephone. They have as much at stake as you do!

If every one of us acts, we will be able to get the changes we seek; such as the “competitive bid” or the efforts to greatly reduce reimbursements and get new legislation passed. The voice of the people, “VOX POPULI”, is one of the most effective tools you have. Use it.

Go to DC, get on the telephone, make these calls and send e-mails. “IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT YOU PARTICIPATE." 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Shelly Looks Back: What's in a name?

In today's world of electronic mail, search engine optimizwhatits, and Google ads, sometimes we forget some of the simplest ways to earn customer loyalty.  So, what's in a name?  So much good will, that’s what’s in a name and I want to share with you how we used this back in my days in my DME store.

I had two young salespeople working with me, both were named “Ronnie,” so everyone addressed them as Ronnie girl or Ronnie boy. These two young people became very popular with our clientele. The smiles and cheerful greetings they had for each customer reflected so nicely showing that our company was a community service, not just another dealer.

They did everything possible to assist with every facet of the operation to build sales and maintain good relations. The “Ronnie’s” became local celebrities. Together they always found good ideas to help make new sales.

They created the best program so simple that any dealer can utilize it. They told me they wanted to send a birthday card to every customer. I said OK! It did not take them very long to start recording names and dates. We had most addresses and a few were found in the telephone directory. Hardly anyone refused to share their birthday.

But they went a step further. Rather than purchase birthday cards, my “Ronnie’s” designed a birthday card that was our exclusive greeting.  We bought them in bulk! As the list grew, so did our sales. Every year we prepared a different greeting card and our customers began to look forward to that.

One of our vendors suggested we include a discount slip when we mail these. But the “Ronnie’s” felt this would not reflect our company. They wanted good will and didn't need to pressure the follow up sale, that came naturally. 

Do you have a story of customer loyalty building?  Share it with me in the comments section below.

Monday, February 4, 2013

You must be heard...NOW

Jonathan Temple, OxyMed  (Birmingham, AL), expressed his feelings about the Round 2 CMS competitive bid.  I am sure that Jonathan’s thoughts are the same for every DME/HME provider.  After I carefully read what he wrote, I realized even more than ever before how important it is for every dealer to make his or her voice heard NOW.

He compared the situation to a prize fight (not bad)!  CMS is telling dealers they are getting too much money for what they do and the industry is explaining how they perform to actually save CMS healthcare dollars. (And, let's not forget how much pro-bono work is done).

He goes on to caution other providers to not make “suicide” bids. I couldn't agree more. I am repeating his warning about bidding your services into a level that will be fatal for your company.

There is a great deal more to this problem, which must be considered.  Let’s start with CMS.  They feel  that the cost of the services billed for is excessive, but that is completely incorrect.  If CMS could only eliminate 90% of the current fraud and abuse (F & A), there will be sufficient cash available at the current reimbursement schedule. Unfortunatley, we can never rid the system of all the F & A, but we can really eradicate much of it.

The one thing that I am very proud of is the very small number of DME/HME providers who have been found guilty of any F & A!  The basic problem CMS has is a lack of controls for the services they are billed.  For example, what a hospital can bill by upgrading or for services not performed. The average patient does not know what CMS has been billed.  I have spoken to many of my peers and only found one who studied the monthly report they received and found it difficult to understand.  I am of that, but still questions should always be asked.

What can you do? This is something I have repeated over and over. Join your state and national associations now. Your added dollars (their modest fees) will keep you viable and in business. Don’t commit suicide! Get on the team and fight back. Draw all of your customers into the fray. All of this will be discussed at Medtrade in Las Vegas, so please be there.  Do it NOW!