HME News

SEP 2017

HME News is the monthly business newspaper for home medical equipment providers. This controlled circulation publication reaches 17,100 home medical equipment services providers, including traditional HME dealers & suppliers, hospital- and pharmacy-o

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News 8 www. HM enew S .co M / S ep T e MB er 2017 / HM e new S By Theresa F L aher T y, Managing e ditor M ille NN ials i N the office are a hot topic these days, with older gener- ations often bemoaning them for certain stereotypes. h owever, the under-40 workforce has plenty to offer, including the ability to look at the h M e industry from a fresh perspective, says v GM's r yan b all. " t hey are coming in and saying, ' t his is the landscape now and whatever happened 10 years ago isn't important,'" said b all, director of v GM Market Data. ""We have to figure out how to be successful now." v GM recently launched the h M e Young Professionals Group—which cur- rently has 51 members—to allow h M e professionals to network and share best practices with their peers. b all spoke with h M e News recently about the value of younger workers. HME N E ws: Why did VGM form the Young Professionals Group? Ryan Ball: h aving the ability to develop relationships over the long term with other folks that are in the same spot as you is really kind of what drove us to form this group. Not all of the younger people that have started in this business recently are able to go to a Medtrade or h eartland con- ference. t here's an advantage in being able to network with each other, partly online or with l inked i n. i n addition to those, we are hoping to schedule networking events at industry trade shows to help provide an opportunity for continued in-person engagement and relationship building. HME: What's an example of the challenges facing people who are new to the work- force? Ball: h ow people tend to see the younger generation is they want to be able to move up quickly and they feel like they've done the work. b ut you have to start somewhere in a business, and just kind of understanding there are people that have been there longer than you and you need to learn for a while is a big piece of coming into a new company and being humble and understanding that no, you don't have all the answers. HME: Is generational conflict an issue in the HME industry? Ball: i wouldn't say that. What i 've learned over the years is there's so much value in understanding some of the broad strokes that describe a generation, like how they were brought up and how that relates to how you should interact with them, how they like to work and what they like to do. HME: Should the industry feel encouraged that younger people are get- ting into the HME biz? Ball: t here's reason to hope that young people and new people—no matter what age—are still getting into the market, because as tough as it is now relative to a few years back, the underlying demograph- ics are attractive. i f you can figure out how to streamline and how to take advantage of the tools that are available to you, there's still a good business. HME VGM connects young professionals single-source contract to provide sup- plies—the list includes 244 codes—to Medicaid patients under s uperior h ealth- Plan, a managed care company that's administering part of that state's program. t he start date for this contract has been delayed to o ct. 1, with other changes possible. " h ow is Medline going to know what to dispense to the patient?" said v ictoria Peter- son, an administrator for r espiratory & Medical h omecare in e l Paso, t exas, which serves about 125 patients under s uperior h ealthPlan, representing about $75,000 in revenues per month. "When they get a script that says Pedia s ure, what kind are they going to provide, because there are 25 different kinds. t he doc doesn't know—we go back to the nutritionist to find the best fit. s ame thing with trachs—there are six different types of tubes." r espiratory & Medical h omecare has filed four complaints with three different offices of the t exas h ealth and h uman s ervices Commission, as well as s uperior h ealthPlan. a nother provider, a lliance Medical s upply, enlisted the legal team at b rown & Fortunato to also file a complaint. the problems caused by competitive bidding, says provider Gary s heehan, a steering com- mittee member. " i do think there is real value in that it's a systems issue for discharge planners that they are dealing with every single day," said s hee- han, C eo of s andwich, Mass.-based Cape Medical s upply. " t he discharge planner can cite case after case after case of having real problems getting basic medical equipment to discharge patients back into the community into a lower cost environment." t he survey will also look at both urban and rural markets. " i think what will come out of it is a really comprehensive look at the access issues, where they are and also some of the cost that the system is incurring because of these access issues," said s heehan. " i t's an expensive proposition for CM s and u . s . taxpayers." aah omecare hoped to have a report based on survey results from Dobson Da v anzo in three months. "We're doing our best to get this going as quickly as possible, because timing is every- thing," r yan said. HME SUR v EY c o n t i n u e d f r o m pa g e 4 MEDI c AID c o n t i n u e d f r o m pa g e 4 " a ll the DM e providers that have been providing services in a fabulous way for decades—now all of a sudden, they would be eviscerated," said Pam Colbert, a mem- ber of the firm's h ealth Care Group. i n a response to a request for an interview, a media relations specialist at Medline said no one was available at the moment. " i t's a very new deal," she said, refer- ring to the contract in t exas. " b ut we may have more details to share in the coming months." Providers like b en h ertz don't begrudge Medline and other distributors like t winMed for earning a living, but this trend is another major shift in the h M e industry toward larger companies and less personal care. " t hey're all trying to maximize their own revenues, but it's like, health care is so personal," said h ertz, the store man- ager for e lmora h ealthcare in e lizabeth, N.J., where the state has contracted with Medline to provide incontinence supplies to all Medicaid patients under h orizon N.J. h ealth. "You go to the doctor that your fam- ily has been going to for 50 years. You got to the hospital, and your nurse is your neigh- bor. t hey're commoditizing this portion of health care, and it's scary to think about how far they'll take it." HME Ryan Ball " i have never seen as many meetings where we are meeting with the representatives," said Karyn e strella, executive director of the h ome Medical e quipment and s ervices a sso- ciation of New e ngland. " i hope that they are really starting to hear about the problems." t hose problems have snowballed in the last few years, said e strella. "We are sharing with them how many com- panies have gone out of business," she said. " i n some states, there are 50% fewer compa- nies in three short years. i t's mind-boggling." Despite the noise surrounding the s enate's efforts to reform health care, stakeholders p AYMENT f REE z E c o n t i n u e d f r o m pa g e 1 remain optimistic they will be heard. John Gallagher was in Montana recently, visiting lawmakers' offices with providers, including that of s en. Jon t ester, D-Mont. " t hey are looking to move onto other things," said Gallagher, vice president of government relations for t he v GM Group. " t hey are ready start working on things that are important for rural health care." t he fight against the bid program has been a protracted one, but now's not the time to slow down, stakeholders say. " i know it sounds like the same old, same old, but it's still really important for folks to keep those channels open," said Cara b achen- heimer, senior vice president of government relations for i nvacare. 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