Thursday, May 30, 2013

Nation's Premier Providers

HMENews presents an annual HME Excellence Awards.  When I reviewed the list of previous winners I saw many DME companies whose names I recognized. Each of these “winners” are examples of how great our industry is. I have no doubt that many more dealers and providers would qualify as “premier providers.” I know that in every village and town there are candidates for this award.

We have to demonstrate this to CMS and Medicare. They must appreciate the excellence of the quality services dealers provide to their clientele. Do they know how many “pro-bono” services that dealers give their customers?

If we had the ability to speak to every patient and their family caregiver, the same report would be repeated: “Our provider is a premier provider.” If you ask most senior citizens and the average customer who makes an occasional purchase, you would hear more of the same given with much enthusiasm.

I want to send my congratulations out to HMENews for recognizing and awarding deserving "Premier Providers”.

To apply for a chance to be named Best HME Provider, Best Home Respiratory Provider, or Best Rehab Technology Provider in this year's HME Excellence Awards, click here for an application.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Thank you, Ms. Kristi WarnerWhen I opened the MedtradeMonday Newsletter, I realized that she was sending everyone a very important message.

Kristi visited the AAHomecare display at the Spring Medtrade Exhibition, and to her dismay, discovered the company she worked for had not renewed their membership. She assumed that this was an inadvertent situation since they were a member of AAHomecare. Ms. Warner promptly signed in Northside Oxygen and Medical Equipment. The company is based in Zanesville, Ohio and their state association is OAMES, to which they belong.

Kam Yuricich is the executive director of OAMES. Kam has always been a superb leader and works diligently in the forefront to pass MPP (HR1717), as are the other state DME associations.

Members like Kristi Warner are what makes these associations so effective. I will quote her: “Competitive bidding is scary. We deliver oxygen to our county, plus six surrounding counties. For us to make a bid would have taken us further out than we were able to do.”

Reading the brief report in the Medtrade Monday Newsletter filled me with pride. I would like every DME/HME provider or dealer to say the same loud and clear: “I AM THE HME INDUSTRY!”

You all are! Those of you who are currently supporting and working with both your state DME association and AAHomecare are the backbone of our profession. I ask that every dealer and provider join both and together we will accomplish every goal.

Yes, you can all be another Kristi Warner!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Merger & Legislative Conference

The official announcement was released; AAHomecare and NAIMES are now one organization. We all send our sincere congratulations to AAHomecare. This is great news for all DME/HME providers and suppliers. Welcome to the new stronger AAHomecare.

President Tyler Wilson and Wayne Stanfield, former President of NAIMES and now VP of AAHomecare are working to complete blending everything into one strong national association for all providers. Tyler will be stepping down in the fall and may I suggest that AAHomecare find his replacement from within the industry.

There are many fine directors running the state associations. I can easily recommend several to be his replacement. Bringing in a new president with who has been active in this industry for many years will make a big difference. Please be patient as these active negotiations are taking place. Wait quietly, as I am, for their report.

However, all DME/HME dealers or providers must show their appreciation for what they have already accomplished on your behalf. The new AAHomecare will carry your message and get Congress to support the pending legislation and never allow them denigrate what we do.  I am really excited about the future.

 The AA Homecare Washington Legislative Conference was this week.  Many DME providers, manufacturers, and thought leaders from our industry came together and attended the 2-day event.  Here's some advice from AA Homecare and the congressional speakers at the Washington Legislative Conference sessions: "Tell us your stories".

“It is truly important to talk with your elected representatives,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). “Make it personal.” She continued by encouraging attendees to help Congress understand that DME providers are meeting the needs of more than 8 million Americans, so it’s imperative that they stay in business.

The number of Co-Sponsors on HR 1717 is now up to 96.  We need to continue this momentum from the conference!  Keep making calls, writing letters, and visiting with your law makers.

If your company is not currently a dues paying member, please be sure you get on board STAT. All the strength you can give them will keep our industry solvent. You, your employees and your clientele appreciate what you do, so don’t wait another day. Get on board ASAP and maintain this relationship. Join and become active.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Today, right now, not tomorrow.

Today, right now, not tomorrow! ! !

We only have until June 3rd to get sufficient signatures on the bill introduced by Congressman Dr. Price (MPP HR-1717) or it might be too late. This bill must be taken out of committee and then voted on and passed or the COMPETITIVE BID will not go away.

Get on the phone and also send e-mails to your elected House members at once. Send them to their offices both in Washington DC and at home.

Please ask as many of your customers, clients, staff and family caregivers to help.

There is no tomorrow! Do it now!!!!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Family Caregivers

Often, an HME/DME provider will miss contacting and working with a client’s family caregiver.

Who is the family caregiver? Is it the patient’s child? It may be a brother, a sister, or a hired professional. There is always someone who cares, and when you identify who this is you become an important asset to them. Obviously this has many benefits for you! It is perfectly acceptable to tell a customer that you need to know if there is a special person to contact “in case of an emergency.”

The family caregivers worry about their patients and understand they do not wish to be institutionalized. But they also do not want the patient to live alone in their home. However, they will seek any comfort items that will help their relative. You know the patient, whether bed-ridden, a senior citizen, or suffering from any ailment and now you will be aware of the family caregiver.

Many dealers send an e-mail to the caregiver whenever they have a transaction. Over the years, I have found there is nothing that can be as effective as working with the patients and family caregivers.

What is an extra reward is when the caregivers become your friend. They show their appreciation in many different ways. The patient’s physician, nurse, and therapist are also very pleased with you when you send them an e-mail about anything special which might have taken place. This has proven to be most influential and useful in developing a professional relationship with them.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Moving Forward

My phone has been ringing and my e-mail box has been receiving encouraging messages. It appears that as an industry we are growing closer and now acting in tandem with one another.

When I see how many dealers and associations are finally recognizing that the time has come to move forward, I see that we have a real chance at winning this fray. Yes, the time has come for all of us to make our voices heard. We must get the MPP bill passed! As an industry, we have to get our representatives to sign on as co-sponsors of the MPP (1717). They will, when asked!

I have received many e-mails and phone calls from DME dealers telling me what they have done. Many have asked their customers to write. In tandem, together, we must contact our representatives and explain why it is so important to get the MPP bill (1717) out of committee.

This is a slow process and tempus fugit. We need as many representatives in DC as possible to sign on STAT. When you show how the so-called "competitive" legislation is dramatically affecting and failing their constituents, they will listen.

They will also be aware when your customers, family caregivers and senior citizens write and call. The legislators must understand the difficulties and the need for the MPP bill to be passed. Your clientele has as much at stake as you.

To get the necessary tools you need and correct addresses of the legislators, please contact your state DME association or AAHomecare. When this is done, we will move forward. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Send A Newsletter

I have often mentioned an easy means of establishing communication between you and your clientele. One excellent way at your fingertips is via e-mail. You have the ability is to send a “newsletter” to all your clientele.

Decide who makes up your base. Are they customers, patients, family caregivers, local nursing services, referral sources, MDs and friends? All? Yes ! 

Build your mailing list. Request from everyone their e-mail address so they can receive your “newsletter”.  Dealers who have done this told me they are rarely turned down. Invite everyone.

Once you have developed this list you are ready to send your “newsletter”. What should it offer? Be sure to have your company name, telephone, etc. I know this is obvious, but I have often seen newsletters with incomplete information.

A great tool to consider using for email marketing is Constant Contact. It is easy to use, inexpensive, and allows you to keep track of your contacts as well as easily build eye-catching emails. 

Every issue should include a health maintenance message. Invite local physicians, nurses, and other practitioners to send you a paragraph or two. Ask your employees to provide messages from their segment. Experience has shown that most folks are flattered when asked and usually provide some really good material.

Offer only one item that is on sale and place that in the last section of your newsletter. Always have something humorous to say and have pictures. Schedule these newsletters to go out twice a month and watch you sales grow.

The cooperation you will get from your vendors and friends will make this succeed. Keep it simple, cheerful, and in a very short time you will now be a publisher as well as operate a fine DME/HME location.

Friday, May 10, 2013


We are running too far behind getting HR1717 to move forward. Last year in three months we were able to get close to 100 representatives to sign on as co-sponsors for the MPP bill. This was done during the Medtrade meeting in Atlanta where we heard Representative Tom Price, MD, from Georgia, introduce it.

Dr. Price told us why he was sponsoring this legislation. He explained what it would take to get it out of committee and then go on to the Senate and then with a little extra effort be passed by Congress. If every DME/HME dealer/provider gives this 100% effort we can get it onto the floor, passed and moved to the Senate. If we do not accomplish this - we will not succeed.

It is life or death for our industry! Visit AAHomecare's Action Center to find out what you can do.

If we fail to do this, the Competitive Bid Legislation will remain in place. You read in the newspapers and know that CMS and Medicare are trying to reduce reimbursements by as much as 45% from today’s level. Who can remain solvent and stay in business with that?

As of this morning we have only obtained support from about half the number of representatives who signed on last year. There are more than 500 representatives covering every district in the country. There are about 15,000 dealers in America, so get to work; call, write, and save your company and our industry.


Time is rapidly passing; soon Congress will take their summer holiday. You can no longer sit by and wait. If it is not passed and there are many steps to take, far too many DME/HME dealers will find their income greatly reduced and a large number will be obliged to close their doors. WE CANNOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN! 
Get started ASAP.

President John F. Kennedy said “FAILURE HAS NO FRIENDS.”

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Find The Money

I saw an article in last week's newspaper that frightened me! An administrator for CMS, Jonathan Blum, said that in order to keep Medicare solvent they would have to further reduce reimbursements. I find that he is not alone in that attitude!

What really blows my mind is that no one ever wishes to look into why and how the money is disappearing so quickly.  It is “fraud and abuse” which must be addressed!  Whenever I bring that up though, I am told they cannot make any changes in the system.

No matter how low they reduce the reimbursements, the same thieves will continue milking the system.  We have to get them out!  I am strongly recommending that you, as active DME/HME providers, please join me in making the following requests.

1.) We have started and are working in the correct direction for licensure. The Accreditation Program is the beginning.  But, to date, it has no teeth.  To participate in Medicare or Medicaid you must have accreditation (or a license), and when found in fault, that can either be revoked or suspended.

2.) There has to be standards for everything provided.  When we review the different retail prices for wheelchairs or walkers, we immediately are aware there are no standards.  For a pharmacist, the standards can be found in the US Pharmacopeia or the National Formulary.  Where do we look for DME?

When this came up, I was told it would be too costly and take up too many man-hours to accomplish providing standards. I say it would save them so much money and keep out many of the dishonest people who use Medicare to steal. They will then discover where to find the money!  It has always been available, but too many crooks find it SO EASY to steal!

The best way to get this achieved is by working together with one another and supporting the state and national associations. They can and will deliver your message. We can show CMS and Medicare where to find the money!

Need to report Medicare Fraud?  Here's how:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Job Descriptions

Many times during my tenure I have been invited by DME/HME dealers to be a consultant for them. The first question I ask usually is, “How efficiently are you running your company?”  Then, I follow it with, “How do you guide your employees?"

When employees understand their role, they can help run a company properly.  The best way to accomplish this is with a job description for each individual. Every employee has to be able to fill many needs. DME/HME is a small business, but each must also have a specialty. This is part of the job description. Your staff members are both dedicated and hard working or you would not have kept them on your team.

The first thing you need to do is to interview each team member privately.  Sit down to speak one-on-one.  A very nice way to accomplish this is inviting them for lunch.  Discuss their primary sphere of responsibility. The fact is they have to be a “jack-of-all-trades” as well as an expert in one. When you prepare a job description it will enable that “partner” to use his strengths and fulfill your needs (didn’t they tell that to you at lunch?).

You will be told what they like to do and what they are most comfortable doing. It now becomes easy to prepare a job description. This simple step will bind the employee and the company into one.

When employees are fully cognizant of their job description and do a superb job it must be acknowledged. When they do more than their job descriptions and pitch in with all tasks, this must be complimented. When they work for you, as if they were your partners, it must be rewarded.

There are many things you can do to reward them. A few ideas for rewards might be tickets to a show, dinner for two at an excellent restaurant, or a parking space with their name. These are always well received. One DME/HME dealer told me his wife prepares a special dinner for the winner of a sales conference and their spouse every quarter. The competition for this is fierce!

Tell me about some of the ideas that you have used so it can be shared with all our readers ( or 1-321-255-3885).

 Looking for a new employee?  Click here to check out the new HME Jobs Market!

Monday, May 6, 2013


Is the HME/DME, industry facing a crisis?  Is it a time of great danger or is it a turning point?  Yes, it certainly is all of the above!  Unless we act together right now, I do not know how many will survive these critical times. I want every provider to stay solvent and together protect all our customers, patients, senior citizens and family caregivers (and that is all of us, the entire population).

Unless we act together now to bring about the several changes many unpleasant things will happen. We will face a dire future. We can do it! We have fabulous support, the state DME associations and the new integrated AAHomecare. The key to success is that everyone becomes active! So much is at risk.

The many things that must be accomplished at this moment are critical. We all know what they are. If we do not respond it will affect every DME/HME dealer in the USA, more than 15,000 operations!  This is why I ask that we act in unison STAT. We must get the MPP legislation (HR1717) out to Congress and passed.

To accomplish this we have to contact every elected Representative and together with our clientele ask that they support the pending MPP legislation. There are about 500 districts in the 50 states. The combined total of state and national association memberships* should enable us to contact nearly every one of the Representatives.  You can call, e-mail, or even go up to Washington DC for the Legislative Conference at the end of this month & talk to them face-to-face! 

If you need the name and contact information for your district, any one of the associations will cheerfully provide it.  If it is easier, feel free to contact me ( and I will email the info at once.

You can also find all of this information at AAHomecare's Action Center:

Let us resolve this crisis and save what we have. AMEN.

* Please contact every DME/HME provider in the community, not just members of the associations and ask they join with you by becoming a dues paying member along with you!  They cannot afford to sit by themselves. They must get involved!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Merger

Yes, Good News!!! Thank You

AAHomecare and NAIMES have agreed to merge. This is a giant step forward for our industry. It now must be followed by those dealers who currently are not members getting on the team.

When your realize that there are more than 15,000 active DME/HME providers or dealers in the United States, you will recognize how powerful an industry we will become.

With every DME/HME provider or dealer signing on STAT, our industry will prosper. We will now be able to get the MPP bill passed and the competitive bid legislation eliminated. Then, we can chart a more successful course.

This good news is not only important for us, but also even more valuable for all the beneficiaries of Medicare and Medicaid. They appreciate what you perform for them. They want to stay with their local DME/HME provider and not someone in another community.

So for every one of your clientele, be they seniors, bed-ridden, handicapped, family caregivers, or just an occasional customer, get them to support you.

Call every dealer you know and if they do not currently belong, please insist that they join. I want to see as close to 100% of the 15,000 DME/HME potential members become due-paying members. They will be able to stay in business and never be forced to downsize or even close.

Please ! ! !