Tuesday, September 30, 2014


I was under the impression the citizens of the United States elected congressmen to represent all of their electorate. They have to recognize this! They represent all of the citizens, not just those in one political party.

In the last two years, possibly even three years, so little has come from our elected officials in Congress! I am very concerned that so little is accomplished in DC. Why? What can we do to awaken them?

The world is in an uproar and we are being attacked by all kinds of “wanna-be’s” who love our money but not our country. When I read in the daily newspapers how big the national debt is, I wonder how much longer we can continue to shell out dollars and get so little or no return.

Unless our congressmen start to speak with one another, instead of saying “my way only,” I see the United States being drawn into another war. How many more young Americans will be sacrificed? How many more families will be torn asunder? We cannot allow this to happen.

Congress will be in session for a very short period and then off for their annual Holiday. They can accomplish a great deal in the next few weeks if they become a team of dedicated Americans. There is too much at stake for the country! I ask that they please represent ALL of their electorate. 

I realize how hard AAHomecare and the State DME Associations are working to get some pending bills passed. They cannot accomplish this alone. It is now your turn to speak up! To be effective they require the voices of every DME/HME provider and dealer. You can also invite your customers to get involved. They have as much at stake as you do.
Visit AAHomecare's Action Center and add your voice to the initiative.

Friday, September 26, 2014

HME News

The Editor of HME News, Ms. Liz Beaulieu, sent a general news e-mail on Friday, 9/12, referring to the HME NewsPolls. Since I am no longer a dealer, I do not participate in them, but I find it difficult to wait until the results of these are published.

The responses they received to the CMS offer to settle pending appeals as an exchange partial payment, which in my humble opinion is absolutely the wrong solution for dealers, spoke volumes. The dealers said “No” to CMS. Our industry cannot afford ANY further reductions in reimbursements. I am embarrassed about the attitude that CMS takes.

DME/HME providers submit bills for the work they do and the products they provide, but none for any of the pro-bono services that come with their work! These are all hard-working people whose livelihood and that of their employees depend on prompt payments for their services.

The response from the industry was “No, thank you!” I cannot imagine that CMS would ask for an additional discount of 32 percent - Outrageous! How little profit there is and yet the DME/HME providers still worry more about their customers and continue to give the good care that they always have.

Medtrade will be here sooner than you realize. The most important things today are that we make our voices heard. AAHomecare, the State DME Associations, the buying groups and affiliated associations are all becoming ONE voice! When we fight together, well organized, we will show CMS that we must be reimbursed with fair settlements.

We have to pursue other changes, such as licensure, which will keep out the “bad guys,” to make things happen. Please follow the lead of our industry publications, AAHomecare, as well as the state associations, VGM, and all the providers and dealers who have so much at stake! They will ALL be in Atlanta 10/21-10/23. BE THERE!
Register  for Medtrade with the promo code SHELLY for a Free Expo Pass. [Click Here to Start Registration]

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Make Things Happen!

There are so many things pending for DME/HME dealers, but the days seem to be racing by before we see any action. I could prepare a long list of the problems that have to be addressed, but that really means very little. We need action, not lists!

Congress has been called back to DC to get some legislation passed. Unfortunately, we have a divided Congress. The threat of another war is hanging over everyone! We have to pray that they can resolve this. However, working to get things done is far better than sitting and waiting.

Our industry is also in a dire strait. We must also get some bills passed, and unless our congressmen are contacted, they will not respond. This being the case, it is imperative that DME/HME dealers call their congressmen to notify them of our need and spur them into action. HR 4920 and HR 5083 need to be brought to the floor and voted in. With all the confusion in DC, congressmen will listen to their electorate when told how much this affects the members of their districts.

In a very few weeks, the industry will be gathering in Atlanta for Medtrade. This is where answers will be found! We have this opportunity to really band together and make a very strong impression on our Congressmen.

At all times, we have to remind these politicians that they represent all of the people in their district, and this includes the patients, the family caregivers and all the professionals involved in health care. We all vote, and it's votes they will need to maintain their offices! We must make things happen!
When you travel to Atlanta for Medtrade this October, bring with you as many members of your “team” as possible. Instead of asking what’s happening, let us make things happen!
[Click Here to Register for Medtrade]  Don't forget to use the promotional code SHELLY to get your Free Expo Pass!

Monday, September 22, 2014


Can you put a true value to your company?

When I picture a typical DME/HME dealer, this is what comes to mind:

Your family has been making a good living from your company! The many customers who enjoy shopping at your store appreciate everything you supply to them as well as all the pro-bono benefits you give. Your entire staff shares in this! The family caregivers who shop for Mom or Dad know how important your services are, and they say “thank you” every time they see you.

DME/HME is your profession, and you are very proud of your operation and every thing that bears your name. But you and your peers are under attack, not for what you perform but because a very bad element has us draining out funds and creating havoc.

To help protect the future of this typical DME/HME dealer (and many of you are a match for my above description), here are several things that you should do. These blogs have made our position rather clear: There must be a way of licensing DME/HME providers. After all, we are dealing with sick and bedridden patients. Licensure is one viable solution.

Another answer is to get legislation passed (H.R.4920 and H.R.5083), or the future may become NIL for all. As we have reported, similar bills, both last year and the year before, never got out of committee.

Why did that happen? Did everyone work as hard as they could to get results? The state DME associations are contacting every congressman in their states to encourage them to get on board. They are having excellent success, but Tempus Fugit.

We now have a leader with Tom Ryan, President of AAHomecare. If we all get behind him, DME/HME dealers, manufacturers, vendors, industry associations, we will win. He is leading us, and is trying to raise sufficient support to bring these efforts to a successful conclusion.

Consider the value of your company. The decision to communicate with your state association and AAHomecare, and pay the necessary dues, is one worth making! If we do not win, what will happen to your company? Its value will disappear, and so will everything you have worked so hard to protect.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Greg Thompson

Director of Media Relations,
Greg Thompson
I did not realize how often I have read the weekly Medtrade Monday that we all receive with our e-mails. We take many things for granted, but we should not fail to recognize who prepares this message.

In order to reach your goals, it is imperative you understand what is happening almost daily, which can affect your business. You realize that if you don't, your company may fall aside. Medtrade Monday is your guide to the most important opportunities you find at the Exhibitions! It is only a few weeks away, 10/21-10/23, in Atlanta.

I want all of our readers to know that the source of this weekly mailing is Greg Thompson. I am very proud that I have met and know who Greg is! He is without a doubt a master author. Greg is a real gentleman. It is everyone’s privilege to read what he prepares in such clear words. Job 6:25: “How forcible are right words!” There is no way I can say that any better.

Greg will be very busy at Medtrade, but when you see him, please say, “Thank you.” I know how much he will appreciate hearing this from you.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dress Code

What a difference a dress code can make! In a previous blog we wrote about providing your staff with jackets. Your company logo and the name of the employee are all that should be on the jacket. This modest expense is one with a great ROI.

Whatever you can do to make your store a focal point in the community is vital. The first impression a customer gets when they enter your showroom makes a big difference. It must be appropriate and positive. When a customer can clearly identify the salesperson’s name, the first step is taken. When your salesperson knows the client, that is fine, however if they do not know them, they must greet them with a simple, "May I help you?"

I received a message from a DME/HME dealer reminding me of a talk I gave at a Medtrade exhibition. This dealer, as do many others, provides all his staff with jackets. He sees to it that everyone on his staff, whether a delivery person or house sales employee, wears the company jacket. His company is a very successful operation, and he feels this dress code has contributed greatly to their success.
A good friend in upstate New York told me he saw a neighbor receiving oxygen equipment from another company. Those installation technicians looked like truck drivers, not at all professional. The last person a customer sees from your company is what remains in their memory. This dealer sees to it that his delivery people dress as well as the employees in the showroom.

Your showroom must be conducive to invite the customer to shop. I have often mentioned a few other ways to make your showroom the magnet it should be. I also recommend bright lights, signage, and of course, prices displayed on all merchandise. Most people will not purchase an item that does not have a price affixed. Would you?

Please be sure there are no dark corners. Everything should be bright and cheerful! Signs identifying every department should also be visible.

A good dress code puts your clientele at ease when they shop. You will hear this repeated in nearly every seminar and lecture on marketing at Medtrade in Atlanta this October 20-23. The show will be here before you know it - Have you registered yet? Use the promo code, SHELLY to get your Free Expo Pass at registration. I'll see you there!

Monday, September 15, 2014

H.R.4920, H.R.5083 PENDING

H.R.4920: the DMEPOS Medicare Competitive Bidding Improvement Act of 2014, and H.R.5083: the Medicare DMEPOS Audit Improvement and Reform (AIR) Act of 2014.

Last year, and the year before, there were similar bills pending in Congress. Our industry failed to get them out of committee and passed; not once, but twice! We must not allow that to happen again. In a baseball game, three strikes and you are out.

I am not talking about a ballgame; I am worried about an industry. You are concerned about all your customers and patients
. You should also be concerned about making a living for your staff and yourself. Every effort must be made to get these bills passed STAT.

I do not wish to paint a negative outcome. I realize that all DME/HME providers are aware of the consequences if our industry falls down another time. Don’t let this happen!

I know many dealers will participate at Medtrade in Atlanta this October. This year will probably have the highest number of attendees. But when I realize there probably are about 15,000 DME dealers in the country, I wonder why we aren’t able to get more dealers involved. When we do, everyone will benefit!

How many providers are sitting quietly, waiting for someone else to fight for them? There is no one else. Every DME/HME dealer must give more than lip service. Because this year it is so critical to have H.R.4920 and H.R.5083 passed, so we all must take steps to become dues paying members of AAHomecare and the State DME Associations.

These organizations have the power to help us win this battle, but in order to succeed, they need our support! There are no excuses for not participating, because there is really far, far too much at stake. If every DME/HME provider and dealer will cooperate and work diligently as a team, we can get these bills passed, and then when we convene at the Medtrade Exhibition next month, we can make that meeting a celebration! Can we do this? YES, we can!

Get on board, and we will win.

Don't forget to use the promo code, SHELLY, when you register for Medtrade to receive a Free Expo Pass.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Six Four Eighteen

At the Medtrade Exhibition this fall in Atlanta, you can participate in a fantastic program, “6-4-18”, at a very modest cost.

You must register to attend these sessions, and I recommend that you do. There will be six classes presented, held over three days, exclusively to provide you with vital information designed to prepare you for the coming eighteen months. Space is limited, so when you register be sure to sign on for the 6-4-18 Seminars. The cost is a humble $49.00! What a small sum for such a superb program.
The 6-4-18 Series includes the following topics:

Wayne Grau; Jim Howle - Diversifying Your Revenue Sources: Looking Beyond Medicare

Wayne van Halem - Audits: A State of Confusion

Miriam Lieber - Leader As Role Models: The Key to Success in Today’s HME Environment

Jim Greatorex - The Best New HME Retail/Cash Opportunities

Mark Higley; Alan Morris; Jill Eckenrod - Outcomes-Based Growth: How Market Forces are Changing the Way HMEs are Growing Their Core Business

Michael Sperduti - The Elephant Man Married a Super Model! The Philosophy and Strategy to Achieving Big Goals Winning New Patient Referrals and Dominating Your Market.

I have had the good fortune to attend every Medtrade so far, and I can honesty say that I have never seen so many great opportunities for DME/HME companies. Register so you can attend these six hand-selected seminars as well as choosing from the vast number of other conference sessions that are being presented.  Please consider bringing as many of your “team” as possible. The cost for each will have an ROI far more than you can imagine.

When I had my DME, I always took my sales people, including my purchasing agent. This investment helped my company grow much more quickly that I anticipated. My team returned each year filled with new ideas. Yes, it really works! Please do the same.

Get a Free Expo Pass with promo code: SHELLY

>Register for Medtrade NOW

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Build and Grow

As most of you probably did, I received the SOLUTIONS TO BUILD AND GROW brochure from Medtrade. I studied its pages and it suddenly dawned on me how different this pending show is going to be for every DME/HME provider. I am so impressed at how many answers dealers will find at the show.

The economic situation facing providers and vendors must be addressed. At Medtrade, October 20-23 in Atlanta, you will find answers. New products and new vendors have been preparing opportunities galore for you. There will be conferences, seminars and workshops to attend; all with the finest presenters and leaders.

There are many intriguing workshops available. If you are interested in the following topics, you will be in good hands at Medtrade:

  • Sales and marketing
  • Retail OTC
  • Business operations
  • Medicare
  • Legislative & Regulatory
  • Continuing Education,
  • Niche markets,
Be sure to attend this year's Networking & Special Events, including the Washington Update, the Power Lunch, and without a doubt, participate in the Stand Up for Homecare Reception. Perhaps this will be a highlight for you. Here you will meet Tom Ryan, President of AAHomecare. This has always proven to be both the most important as well as the most enjoyable part of a Medtrade Exposition for me!
Attend Medtrade's Networking & Special Events this October 20-23, in Atlanta, GA
If you are not in attendance October 20-23, how can you contemplate what will happen to your company? You must attend and try to bring with you as many members of your staff as possible.
I look forward to seeing you there. When you spot me walking the floor, please stop and introduce your self!
Register for Medtrade with the promo code SHELLY to receive a Free Expo Pass. [Click here to register now.]

Friday, September 5, 2014


Gridlock: A traffic jam in which no vehicle can move in either direction. (Webster’s Dictionary)
Oh my, doesn’t this sound like our congress?

Who in Washington D.C. is in charge? The senate has about 100 members, the house perhaps 525 congressmen. Certainly they should be able to introduce and pass new bills and better legislation. They have the power to resolve many problems.

But the last few congresses have not responded to the needs of any of their electorate. They do not really even speak with one another. Democrats and Republicans have become very stubborn, and they only vote for “their” party’s legislation. “Why give a damn about the folks at home,” seems to be what they are saying.

The president is not a dictator, and that is why our country has survived. But how much longer can this continue before something even more serious happens? I think of Germany in the early 1930s. Need I say more?

Our industry put forth a great deal of effort last year, and the year before, to get some important legislation out of committee. Two years ago, if we had been successful, the competitive bid legislation would have been changed. We failed!

We started all over last year and rolled up our sleeves. DME/HME dealers, AAHomecare, and the state associations worked even harder, and unfortunately we fell short again. Once again we were unable to get the pending legislation out of committee.

This year may be our last chance, and so we have no other choice. We MUST put all of our strength into getting new legislation passed.

I have a warm feeling that with the efforts of our entire industry, following the lead by Tom Ryan (AAHomecare) we might be able to get this accomplished before Medtrade in October.


Still need to Register for Medtrade? Be sure to use the promo code SHELLY to get a Free Expo Pass.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Job Description - Part 2

Your chat with each employee has to be maintained on a very high level. This is not to be seen as a “fault finding” discussion. Many DME/HME principals have told me that they were always surprised (pleasantly) when they heard how much their employees understood about the operation.

Don’t sell them short! When you hear this, please thank your employees because they are more than just a “hired hand”; they are the very heart of your company.

Now you can prepare an excellent job description, one which will empower that employee to use their strengths and fulfill your needs. You will always be delighted when you recognize how much they will be able to contribute.

When employees are fully aware of their job description and then do a superb job, this must be acknowledged. Often an employee will do more than their job descriptions and they pitch in with all tasks. This must be recognized. When they work for you as if they were your “partner”, it must be rewarded.

Armed with what your employees have told you, and recognizing their strengths, you can really develop an appropriate “job description.” There always has to be goals and, when achieved, rewards.

There are many nice things you can do. Tickets to a show and dinner for two at an excellent restaurant, or a parking space with their name on it; these are always well received. If something excellent is done, a salary increase should be awarded. One DME/HME dealer told me his wife prepares a special dinner for the employee and their spouse at his home. The competition for this is fierce.

Good job descriptions lead to more satisfied employees, and the business flourishes!

Please tell me about some of the ideas that you have used in the past so that I can share them with others on the blog. You can reach me by calling 321-255-3885.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Job Description - Part 1

As the proprietor of a DME/HME company are you really aware of what each employee should be doing? Think about this for a few moments.

Over the years, I have been invited by many DME/HME dealers to be their consultant. They all wanted to know how efficiently they were running their company. They wanted to make sure that they were building the best net profits each fiscal year. They asked me to determine if every employee was contributing their fair share to the success of the company. This request always was the most important and the principal of the company shared with me their feelings about every employee!

A pleasant surprise was that invariably each employee was giving his or her best. When we developed job descriptions, they blossomed even further!

There is a great deal of similarity between companies. The first thing I do is to interview each employee privately. I find it amazing that so few staff truly comprehend how much is expected from them. But invariably they have always turned out to be both dedicated and hard working!

After I walk though the warehouse and study the financial papers, I have a lot of insight into the operation. I then ask the principal to describe what they expect from each employee. The difference between what the employee did and what the principal wanted was vast.

In order to increase sales and improve profits, all employees must have a job description. It is never too late to prepare this. Guiding the proprietor was my task and as the principal and I interviewed each employee, answers were found.

Sit down, one-on-one, with every employee. Discuss their primary sphere of responsibility. The fact is they have to be a “jack-of-all-trades”, especially when the day gets busy.

Allow your employee to tell you what they do. Listen very carefully and do not interrupt. They will explain what they do and add many ideas how to expand their sphere. Armed with this information you will be able to write a good job description!