Many of the dealers and providers I spoke to at Medtrade had questions which I tried to answer. There is no doubt that these are trying times, and we must be able to make changes. The principals of DME/HME companies are frightened by the Competitive Bid legislation and wondering how it will affect them when it arrives in their town. Very often our conversation started with this question: “Should I try, or should I look the other way?”
If you decide to give it a try, that will keep your name on the bidder’s list. If you do not, whether for the current legislation (competitive bid) or any other offered, your company may be removed from the solicitation list. So please look at every request that comes your way. Please submit your answers with fair prices; you don’t want to be the lowest bidder - there will always be a company willing to give away the store! That company often will provide poor or no customer service and may fail. However, when you are still on the bidders list for CMS, Medicare or whoever requested pricing, they will then turn to you.
If you have been awarded a bid, make sure you maintain sufficient inventory to give STAT service. Since you are a winner, be sure you regularly call on who sent you the request. If it was CMS or Medicare, be sure all possible referral sources are visited, especially the physicians. Be sure to notify all your customers that your company has been accepted as a vendor. Now you want to solicit to all the business that emanate from them. When I say “solicit,” I mean not just the items that were bid for, but also for the multitude of other items they may require.
When I was in New England, I won a small bid for some items I routinely sold (stethoscopes, BP monitors etc.) for the prisons in Massachusetts. There were about a dozen jails scattered throughout the state. I made it a point to visit each at least once a month. They had the ability to purchase what they required as long as it did not exceed a maximum which I believe was $500. We always made a great deal of sales for the other items, which were not on the bid list. The sales for those items added up to BIG dollars. We soon discovered our company was the only one who routinely called on the prison system routinely.
So should your company bid for new business? The answer is YES!