Longtime columnist pens some words of encouragement
by Shelly Prial

It is with a great deal of pleasure that I can say “Welcome back!” to HomeCare magazine. For many years, it was recognized as one of the premier industry publications. Like most of you, I looked forward to receiving my copy each month. The “Shelly Sez” column I prepared was published for several years as the last columnist in the magazine. I received many comments from readers, and on occasion they were even complimentary …

HomeCare magazine was always recognized for the high-quality information provided by the panel of authors, each of whom shared their wisdom with readers. Marketing and sales programs were always covered, as well as how to operate a successful DME/HME company. Legislative issues coupled with Medicare, Medicaid and every possible problem or difficulty, were addressed.
Now that HomeCare is back, I have every reason to believe it will return to the role it served for so many years.

Our industry is fortunate in that there are many excellent publications, some covering specialty disciplines, and others focused on current news, each valuable. The industry needs all of them because they each fill a need. I know that because in my current role as “Good Will Ambassador” for Medtrade, I have watched the enthusiasm of the providers as they obtain the current editions.

I am looking forward to the day when this magazine reaches the desk of every DME/HME provider and dealer. They are the audience and the ones who will benefit the most. For any business to grow and increase profits, its leaders must seek support and use all sources available to the industry. HomeCare magazine has traditionally been recognized as an excellent source of HME information.

Today, more than ever, the DME/HME industry needs to join forces. The U.S. and world economies are gyrating violently, and no one knows what the future holds. This is why every provider and dealer must belong to state DME and national associations to survive. At Medtrade, as I attended meetings and listened to speakers, it became crystal clear that “in union there is strength.”

Everyone with whom I spoke agreed that they must join these associations or face the possibility of fading away. It was agreed by all that this cost is a normal part of successfully operating their companies. Without the support of these associations, one faces a dire future.

One of the personal goals I hope to accomplish in 2012 is to see more than 90 percent of providers belong to their state associations. I have shared this quote from Doctor Seuss with my children and grandchildren. I want to share it with all of you: “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So ... get on your way!”

Many of the problems facing our industry can be resolved if we, as a team, gather our forces into one powerful voice. If all the buying groups, national and state organizations would sit down and work together to organize the entire industry, what a voice that would create. When I see how much money each of them are spending, I then become very aware that if that money was all in one pot, how much further it would go.

The American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, pharmaceutical manufacturers, lawyers and just about every industry but HME have banded together. But our voice is not heard; it is too soft.

Now all I can say is our industry has very fine people, erudite and understanding, and they can do for us what the others do. So ... get on our way.

We can became a powerful and effective voice for every senior citizen, family caregiver and patient. Let’s do it. Our mountain is waiting.

So read and study every article here the same way you studied textbooks when you were in school. The material published will help you as you continue to grow. You will recognize more clearly the support that HomeCare provides. Study each advertisement (they are the major supporters of this magazine) for new ideas, new products and new OTC cash sales. Work with them, for they, too, are your partners.

So I say “Welcome!” once again, and I look forward to reading HomeCare magazine for many more years.

HomeCare, January 2012