Thursday, October 30, 2014

MEDTRADE: Over the Counter Cash Sales!

As dealers made their rounds of the showroom, trying to see as many exhibitors as possible, they were mainly looking for new opportunities that would fit right in with their operation. Of course, an OTC cash sale was on every providers “want list”. I am pleased to say that when I interviewed attendees and asked if they found suitable “OTC CASH SALES”, I realized they were successful!
“Seek and ye shall find!”
The exhibitors were all aware that the industry is going through a major upheaval. This is long overdue. The big difference is that as an industry, dealers and providers are all working together. They are going to maintain Medicare and Medicaid because it still is a flow of income, but this should no longer be their major source. Although a dealer may have a large number of patients and customers who are at a ripe old age, they all will need many OTC items. Dealers sought and found these items at Medtrade!

Family caregivers will purchase any items they feel would be of value for Mom or Pop. This, for them and their family, is preferable to allowing them to be placed in an institution or possibly moving in with them. There were so many items offered by exhibitors on the showroom floor which were ideal for OTC cash sales.

Other specialty products, such as comfort items which do not require a physicians order, were also available. On the floor, dealers found a myriad of new OTC cash sales items. Such diverse opportunities for your clientele included everything from skin lotions and creams, clothes, shoes, and a large multitude of other comfort products.

Many of the Sales and Marketing sessions were very well attended. The speakers were all experts and well recognized for their skills. Medtrade has always brought with them the cream of the crop for the attendees. I sat in for a few moments only to hear and see what was being presented. I was impressed. Medtrade is on a level with a university!

Indeed, over the counter cash sales was one of the premier accomplishments in Atlanta this year!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Remarkable! Successful! Exciting! Much more than I ever expected! I am so impressed with everything that I saw and heard at Medtrade in Atlanta this week! We all knew this would be an important convention. I was not alone with that thought and heard this from many dealers with whom I spoke.

There were more DME/HME dealers and providers than ever attending this year. They all were seeking answers and they received what they sought. This year the participants obtained a great deal more. Every facet that is involved for our industry was reviewed. The speakers all were superlative.

The lecture rooms were mainly SRO (standing room only). Most of the principals and sales people who sat in carried out with them the handouts and pages of notes they wrote.

Despite the fantastic turnout Medtrade received, there still were far too may dealers or providers who were AWOL. I understand and want to tell those who unfortunately missed being at Medtrade that there is still so much they can do.

Our industry has a very short timetable to reach our elected congressmen and senators. There are several bills pending that must be passed! Our industry did not get these out of committee! We failed last year and the year before! Why?

This happened because too many dealers or providers did not get off their derrieres to get involved and help. The state DME associations and AAHomecare are doing everything in their power to get results, but where are you? Are you all willing to sit idle? Your participation will make a difference!

AAHomecare is raising funds to help them be successful with Congress. Please send them your contribution STAT (mail checks to AAHomecare at 1707 L Street NW, Suite 350, Washington, DC, 20036). 
Work with your state DME association as well. When more DME/HME dealers join, then I know you will all be able to attend the next Medtrade.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


In a very short period of time, Medtrade Fall in Atlanta will open their doors and you and I will be there! HomeCare Magazine, HME News, and the other industry publications are covering this event. I read all of them from end to end. This is the only way to stay informed, the same as you do.

I also read my weekend newspapers and am really surprised by what local papers report. This newspaper is important because we also must know what is happening on our home turf. Your television also supplies the state and national activities.

The industry publications do the same for DME dealers and providers. They provide all the facts and information necessary to keep your company on the right track “Knowledge is power.” - Francis Bacon. Please be sure to stop by their booths at Medtrade to express your appreciation.

INFORMATION: Bring home all the material and information you garner at Medtrade and share it with your staff.
There is very little a businessperson can do without sufficient information. This is particularly true for DME/HME dealers and providers. These are very trying times for our industry and we find ourselves under attack from all sides. Unless you are informed about what can affect your company, you will not know how to respond correctly.

It is imperative to belong to AAHomecare and your state DME Association. They will be represented at Medtrade, so please stop at their booth to say thank you for all the hard work they do on your behalf. For those of you who have not yet become members, enlist in Atlanta.

I will be circumnavigating the exhibition floor, slowly walking with my cane. When you see me, please stop me and say, “Hello.”

Friday, October 17, 2014


Not only should you vote, but you must also suggest to your customers that they, as well, are obligated to vote. What has made the United States of America the world leader is that we have the luxury of a vote. But when a large proportion of people do NOT participate, then we are at fault. It is not important that you vote any party line, what is vital is that you vote!

I always support those politicians who understand what we do as health care providers and the contributions we provide to all our customers. I refer not just to what we sell or supply, but to the great amount of “pro-bono” services which are done as part of our services. Ours is a difficult message to deliver because of the “dishonest” element that find it attractive to steal dollars.

The politicians seeking a seat in Congress recognize the ability of a DME/HME provider to guide their patients and customers to cast a vote for a particular candidate. Need I say any more?

A Note on Medtrade in Atlanta:

Please attend as many seminars at the show and as you possibly can! Make it a point not to miss a single session, because each of them are specifically for you, the DME/HME provider or dealer.

All the years I spent as a dealer, I made the INVESTMENT of bringing one or two key employees with Thelma and I. The ROI (return on investment) was great! In that fashion we had someone attend every seminar necessary, and everything we garnered was shared with all of our staff!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Almost Ready

How quickly time flies by! On Monday, October 20th, the rooms in the Convention Center in Atlanta will be filled with dealers and providers, same as if they were at a university, taking notes and planning for the future.

Then on Tuesday morning, October 21, I will be standing together with the crew who make Medtrade so important, watching Kevin Gaffney (Show Director) cut the ribbon and open the doors. I never counted how many people flow in when the show opens, but they are all there to learn and prepare for tomorrow.

I have been very fortunate and also lucky to be able to attend Medtrade since its inception. This year, Medtrade is more important than ever. I am aware there are many problems which must be addressed, and answers which must be found. This has been the case every year, but this year the industry will have to join more closely than ever to be sure that the future for DME/HME dealers will not be affected.


Visit as many exhibitors as possible. This is important because these exhibitors are the reason that Medtrade is such an ideal place to formulate your goals for next year.

However, the most critical and important thing every DME/HME provider must accomplish is to become involved in the battle with CMS and Medicare. We must stop them in their attempts to further reduce reimbursements. One of our major tasks is to assist them in ridding the industry of the parasites that have created this problem. Licensure can be the answer!

Every DME/HME provider has to join forces with AAHomecare because they are at the forefront and can help bring about this victory. Tom Ryan, CEO, has made it very clear that when funded correctly, the odds for an industry victory swing to him. Get on board; join AAHomecare, join your state DME association, and we will succeed.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Homecare Champions

Two of the nicest people that I know were named to receive the 2014 AAHomecare “Homecare Champion Awards”: 
Joel Mills, CEO of Advanced Home Care
Cara Bachenheimer, Sr. VP of Government Relations
at Invacare

Our industry is so fortunate to have both Cara and Joel leading DME/HME the way that they have always done. They never say NO! They will always listen carefully to what you ask and then give it 100% attention.

This is why I must quote Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.”

I cannot remember when I first met Cara or Joel. It seems to me that they have always been with us, and for that we must be grateful! What is more important is how much they have done for our profession, and this has always been done cheerfully. They have earned all of the accolades we can give them.

I want to add my personal congratulations to two friends I have known for a very long time. I anticipate these awards will be presented on Tuesday, October 21st, at the AAHomecare STAND UP FOR HOMECARE reception.
Please be there to say “Thank You!”
If you still need to register for Medtrade, use the promotional code SHELLY to get a Free Expo Pass.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Get a Bank Loan?

In the past few weeks, I’ve been reading articles in the journals about many business companies trying to obtain a bank loan. I was curious to see what is necessary to get a loan so that you can expand and grow.
I am happy to report this is a good time to see if your company will qualify. If you do, your bank can make funds available in several fashions.

The first option is to establish a “line of credit”. Actually, you already have this because you write checks based on how many dollars you have in the account. The next step is to look for an “installment business loan”. Normally these are used for the purchase of capital goods or debt consolidation. If real estate is involved, such as building a new operation or obtaining a new location, it is considered a “real estate” loan.

Before I go any further, it is imperative to appreciate how much the bank officer wants to know about you. When you bring your application to your bank, if the loan officer is satisfied, it will be sent to their board for approval.

Prepare your financial statements from the last few years. Provide a record reflecting payments. When they see you took 2% ten days more often than paying net 30 days you will look good!

Your company’s annual volume, gross, and net profit must be presented. Talk about your staff (they are key employees), and describe your customers! Explain how you plan to utilize the money. Present your business plan

The branch manager at your bank helps you when you indicate you are interested in obtaining a loan. I found today that they are now willing to listen to you. They will pass on your request. If it is practical, the bank may also assist you in obtaining a Small Business Loan where the government will be backing you.

Do not be bashful! Keep in mind that your company, employees, as well as all your customers, will be proud to see you expand.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Very Busy Year

It is amazing how quickly a year can come to an end and the next one can start. In the year beginning at the previous Medtrade in Atlanta and continuing through October 21, 2014, so much will have happened. I can hardly wait for the doors to open for this year’s Conference and Exposition.

This past year has been very frustrating for DME/HME dealers and providers. The pressure from CMS and Medicare to find sufficient dollars to cover all reimbursements is causing many companies to consider closing or downsizing - Don’t do that! Fight to protect your company and your customers. Yes, your customers do not want to lose your services!

The available funds for reimbursements are insufficient. I also know why this is happening: Too much fraud and abuse!
The Necessity of Licensure
The rules and regulations to become a dealer or provider for Medicare are weak. Many dishonest folks find this an opportunity to make a great deal of money rather quickly. Then they disappear before this is recognized. There must be a licensure program! The dealers, in order to participate, must prove that they meet all standards. But what are these standards? I find these hard to locate.

As a retired registered pharmacist, I had to satisfy many requirements before I was allowed to open my door. All other practitioners in our industry are required to have a license. Why are there none for DME/HME providers?
How We Can Make it Happen

We all must join together with our state DME associations and AAHomecare so that we can make our voice heard. Every dealer must contact their senators and congressmen, armed with the material the associations will provide. You all have to be involved! Do everything possible to maintain your profits and your customers, as well as your employees and family.

Together we can make this VERY BUSY YEAR into a VERY SUCCESSFUL YEAR! I want to see you all at Medtrade, working hard on behalf of your company and our profession.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Is it the Truth?

In the United States and throughout the world, Rotarians open and close their meetings with the four-way test. This simple routine has bound Rotary members together and allowed so much good will for all. This is so simple and important:

OF THE THINGS we say or do:

1) Is it the TRUTH?
2) Is it FAIR to all concerned?
4) Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

If every elected official could be bound by this 4-way test, we would be living in a very different world.

If nothing else, the Rotary accomplishment of ridding the world of polio would be sufficient. But Rotarians never look back, but seek new challenges constantly.

It seems that far too many people swear allegiance to GREED! Webster describes greed as an “excessive desire of getting more wealth than one needs”, I don’t agree with that completely. Earning more is the award for all the efforts and work one does to achieve this accomplishment. My thought is: When does one cease fighting for more?

When I read in the newspapers about how Medicare has become a cornucopia to steal money, I was appalled. Again, the driving force is greed. There are so few rules or regulations in place that anyone can call themselves a DME dealer and solicit business. I know this will be a major topic at Medtrade.

But, there is much more scheduled at Medtrade, so please make sure you and your key personnel are there. It is just a very few weeks away until the doors of Medtrade are open - BE THERE!

Still need to register for Medtrade? Use the promo code SHELLY to get  FREE Expo Pass at Registration.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

C.O.C. aka Cantankerous Old Curmudgeon

A number of years ago, at a Medtrade meeting in Atlanta, I spoke about the fact that too few dealers belong to their industry associations. I compared things with when I was active in Pharmacy, where close to 90% belonged to NARD and APhA, and now how few DME/HME companies today are members of AAHomecare and their state association.

My talk in Atlanta that year was reported as one given by a "cantankerous old curmudgeon”! I felt flattered being called a C.O.C. because it meant there were people who heard my voice. I would like that to happen again today!

This year, the DME/HME industry is facing many “life or death” problems, which must be resolved. Reimbursements are so meager that many dealers are dropping out. Too many thieves are busy stealing so much money and our government doesn’t know how to respond.

We see the problems reported in the industry publications, HMENews and HomeCare Magazine, but I do not see as many getting on board as I would like. Tom Ryan is one of our leaders, and he has asked the industry to provide AAHomecare with sufficient funds to bring about the changes we seek. Please heed his call!

This C.O.C. has been pleading with CMS and Medicare that we need licensure and a means of getting the dishonest elements out of the system. Requiring a license that can be suspended or revoked when abused is one step. Enacting rules and regulations that must be met and maintained is another. We need to have reimbursements based on what is provided; an original and a knock-off product each have a different value!

This C.O.C. is begging every DME/HME dealer or provider to get on the bandwagon and join AAHomecare and their state DME associations. This can be done at Medtrade or right at this moment! Pick up the phone, join, and say the “C.O.C. sent me!”

I hope to see you in Atlanta - THANK YOU!

-- Shelly, C.O.C.