Can you contemplate what would happen to our business if suddenly the government decided to cancel Medicare? I brought this topic up at a recent meeting
by Shelly Prial

Can you contemplate what would happen to our business if
suddenly the government decided to cancel Medicare? I brought this
topic up at a recent meeting and was told, “It can't happen
here.” But I suspect it could.

When I see the size of the deficit our government has, the great
number of dollars being utilized for our war effort, the tremendous
rising of costs for health care and all the other drains on the
dollar, I wonder what the Medicare of the future will be.

There will always be some form of Medicare, but the restraints
that will be in place and continuing reduced reimbursements could
make it difficult for HME providers to depend on this government
program for much of their revenues. So, as I have said time and
again, it is time to seek out other avenues of income.

What are you doing to change the direction of your company? What
are the new disciplines you are expanding into? Are you ready to
take on the future — any future?

November 2, 2004

I know that date, 11/2/04, is several months away, but it is
time to begin thinking about Election Day. Seems to me that the
candidates have been campaigning forever on many issues that could
affect the HME business. I would like every one of you to start
studying what each is saying.

The same as most Americans, I belong to a party. I don't know
why, since I have never voted a straight party ticket. I have
always listened to the candidates, and have supported those who
recognize the importance of our industry and what we do. I send
requests for positions and information to the different candidates
for any office, and then I study their responses. Often, I get
none! That influences my vote.

As an HME provider, you have tremendous clout and should use it
to your advantage. If any politician shows his support for DME and
related issues, give that person your cooperation. As you speak
with your customers, you can tell them why you favor one candidate
rather than the other. This can develop into an effective
grassroots effort, and could sway an election in your

Become active, work to protect your business, our industry and,
most important, our country.

Summer Doldrums

As the temperature rises, the level of running a company seems
to lower. Ambition and ideas appear to grind to a halt, and
business settles into a laissez faire mode, continuing as is
without direction.

But, times are changing. As I mentioned, we do not know what
might happen to Medicare. Nor do we know who will become our next
president and what the next Congress will or will not do to affect
business. Will hostilities cease? Will we enter into an era of
growth and expansion? No one knows.

So use this time when things are somewhat quiet (unless your
company is in a resort area) to start making plans. Get your
promotions prepared and devise a new strategy for business growth.
Then you will succeed, but nothing will happen unless you make it

Sit down with all your employees and involve them in structuring
your new approach. Your employees may come up with good ideas that
could enhance your sales.

One provider told me his driver's good idea: He suggested to the
owner that the drivers carry a list of popular over-the-counter
items. When the drivers make a delivery, they hand the list to the
family caregiver or nurse. This results in some orders coming back
with the drivers or the company's being called within the next day
or two when these customers recognize a need. Try it.

Sheldon “Shelly” Prial is based in Melbourne,
Fla., with Prial Consulting and also serves as the director of
government relations for Atlanta-based Graham-Field Health
Products. In 1987, he founded the Homecare Providers Co-Op, now
part of The VGM Group. He can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at