Time for Teamwork
I have been around a long time, and I’ve never seen so much confusion in the HME/DME industry. I became active in health care in 1950, several years after completing my tour of duty. I attended Long Island University and earned my degree in pharmacy. More than 90 percent of my class was made up of World War II veterans and each of us understood the meaning of teamwork. Cooperation, pulling together, alignment and association bound us together, and that’s how we won the war. It has now been 67 years since WWII ended, and the time for teamwork has come once again.
We seem to depend too much on third party sales such as Medicare and Medicaid, which shouldn’t control your business. This happens when dealers bend to payer’s demands rather than standing against them. Competitive bidding legislation is a good example. We do not want it, and we are fighting to thwart it.
I find it frustrating that far too many home medical equipment (HME) and durable medical equipment (DME) dealers are not members of industry associations. Do they think they can remain independent and continue to exist during these trying times? I am not going to list all of the legislation and restrictions staring us in the face, because you know them well, but standing alone will no longer work. There are too many attacks on our business coming from all angles. To make your voices heard—and influence Congress in order to save your company—we need to develop a sense of teamwork.
Fortunately, there are ways to protect what we already have. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “No great man ever complains of want of opportunity.” To become effective, the industry must consolidate the material provided by the associations. However, insufficient numbers of HME/DME providers are team players.
We can change this mentality by taking two simple steps. The first is easy, because our profession has high-caliber associations in place. The amount of hard work, knowledge and experience they make available to HME/DME providers must be acknowledged.
I receive e-newsletters from many state associations. The information they disseminate to their members about pending and existing legislation, both national and local, is excellent. There are no other sources that can get information out any more quickly or thoroughly. But I know how many providers are in each state, and when I see how small a percentage belongs to these associations, I am dismayed.