Thursday, August 29, 2013

Which is Better?

Have you seen the Verizon commercials where an adult, sitting in a small chair at a small table with four 8 year olds, poses “which is better” questions?  Well, in the same vein as those commercials, answer these questions:
  • Which is better.., one home delivery for three different medical products, or home deliveries for one product at three different times?
  • Which is better.., an oxygen supplier 10 miles from your Mom, or an oxygen supplier 100 miles from your Mom?
  • Who is smarter in economics.., CMS Administrator Jonathan Blum, or the economics departments of Harvard, Yale and Princeton?  (and UCLA, Cornell, Penn State, MIT, Stanford, Notre Dame, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Maryland & 40 more!)
  • Which is better.., saving $20 billion in Medicare spending or saving $80 billion in Medicare spending?
  • Which is better.., going home with a hospital bed from the local supplier or spending two extra nights in the hospital waiting for a delivery from a company hundreds of miles away?
We all know the answers to these questions and we see the problems resulting from the answers, but CMS doesn’t.  Mr. Blum knows better, he’s said so publicly.  In fact everyone knows which is better―except for CMS.  This is a Washington bureaucrat giving us assurance that Washington knows best.

Mr. Blum points to “sky-high prices” in a recent response to criticism of the flawed program, but failed to mention that these prices were set by CMS, not the industry, and using a formula approved by Congress.  CMS had the ability to adjust these prices without destroying the supplier community.

The real answer is “how can so much government focus be spent on squeezing pennies out of program that is less than 1.4% of the total Medicare budget when there is $60 billion lost annually to fraud, waste, and abuse in the rest of the Medicare program?  Mr. Blum also fails to note that the $25.8 billion savings he predicts is over a period of 10 years, AND the $2.6 billion per year saving is less than 0.4% (yes, you’re reading that right: 4/10 of one percent) of the CMS acknowledged fraud, waste, and abuse in Medicare.  Talk about killing an ant with a sledge hammer.

What a shame that CMS and Congress both miss the point.......DME saves money.  Keeping people at home saves money.  We’re pretty sure that even the eight year olds in the commercials can grasp that.

If YOU get the point, please call Congress and tell them YOU know better than Mr. Blum. If you have access problems or have patients with access problems, call 800-404-8702 and report it on the beneficiary hotline.  If you are disappointed with Congressional inaction over the bidding program, call 202-224-3121 and tell you legislator to delay Round 2 and replace it with a real market pricing program instead of the debacle being peddled by CMS.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Meet a Champion

In 2011, Tom Ryan, founder, president, and CEO of Homecare Concepts Inc. won one of our first Homecare Champion Awards. The award was well-deserved recognition of his “entrepreneurial achievements, professionalism, concern for patients, high level of service, and his past and continuing leadership in both AAHomecare and NYMEP.”

One of Tom’s first duties as the new president and CEO of AAHomecare will be to present this year’s Homecare Champions with their awards. The ceremony is a short but important part of the Stand Up for Homecare reception at Medtrade each fall.

Who will be the 2013 Homecare Champions? We don’t know yet because we’re still collecting nominations. And this is where we could use your help. Do you know someone in the homecare community who deserves recognition? If so, please consider nominating them using our easy online form, or download a form to fax in. The deadline is Friday, September 6.

After you’ve sent in the nomination, be sure to register for the Stand Up for Homecare reception so that you can congratulate the new Champions in person! The reception will be October 8 from 5:30 to 7:00pm at Baterbys Art Gallery in Orlando, Fla., which is easy walking distance from where Medtrade is being held.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Get a Bigger BANG for the August Recess Buck

Problems mount with Round 2 of the DME bidding program and CMS is still in denial. In fact, CMS denies everything to do with the flawed program they designed except to tout its supposedly wild success.

The latest news is that a southern hospital can’t find contractors to provide service for the patients it is discharging, so the hospital is creating its own bidding program by inviting local DME providers to submit bids for direct payment by the hospital.

Circumventing Medicare’s own absurd rules in order to help patients go home from the hospital can’t be what Congress intended, yet the people we elected have refused to stop Round 2 from going any further.

Congress NEEDS TO HEAR from YOU.

Yes, YOU—the DME provider who has been devastated by the bidding program. Yes, YOU—the patient who has been denied access to the equipment you paid your Medicare premiums to receive.

We have a plan that takes advantage of the August congressional recess, but it will have no effect unless we have huge support from YOU—the providers, patients, discharge planners, social workers, caregivers, doctors, and everyone else being affected by Medicare’s inability to take care of its beneficiaries.

So here’s the deal. To get the biggest BANG from the dog days of August, sit in the cool of your office or home and call, fax, or email (or all three) your Representative and both of your Senators. Tell them Medicare’s bidding program is not working.  It’s failing the people Medicare is supposed to care for and the very people who voted these lawmakers into office.

We can stop this train wreck if we push back against Congress’s refusal to hear our concerns. Ask your Representative and your Senators if this is what they want—sick and elderly patients in distress because of the government’s actions.

We simply can’t afford to do nothing. What will it be? Will you call Congress, or will you hang up the “going out of business” sign?

Ready! Set! Dial 1-202-224-3121! Tell Congress you just can’t take it anymore.

Better still, go to your Representative’s and Senators’ local district office. If you’re a DME provider, take a patient affected by this badly mismanaged program with you and let them tell the story. Or take your competitors with you and tell all of your stories.

Above all, don’t wait for someone else to fix it. There is no one else. There is only YOU.


For tips on how to talk to Congress and be more effective in the political process, download our 10 Step Guides in the AAHomecare Grassroots Toolbox.

For details about the bidding program and the reasonable alternative, the market pricing program, go to

Find your Representative and Senators’ phone numbers and email addresses in our congressional directory.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Don’t Go It Alone—Go to Medtrade!

Bidding, audits, new regulations, whatever CMS can dream up next; they're enough to give a HME company owner nightmares! If they're keeping you up at night, too, you’re not alone. Everyone in the homecare sector is dealing with one, some, or even all of the same issues that you are working through as you serve your community while trying to maintain your bottom line.

If only there was some place where you could talk about the problems your company faces and tap into the collective expertise of a huge group of HME people. And wouldn't if be great if you could do it in just a couple of days, preferably in a place with a nice climate*?

Of course, such a place does exist—Orlando, Florida, during Medtrade, October 10-12.

Register today to take advantage of early bird discounts, then choose from more than 100 educational sessions led by industry experts, see new products from more than 400 exhibitors, network with HME leaders while supporting public policy efforts aimed at protecting your business.

Don’t go it alone—go to Medtrade. Here are some ways to help you get there without busting your budget:

Travel Info & Discounts
Hotel Accommodations

Spend some quality time with people who face the same challenges and demonstrate the same commitment to serve their patients as you do.

* The average high in Orlando in October is 84, and the average low is 66.