HME News

JAN 2018

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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6 www.hmenews.com / january 2018 / hme news e ditorial Publisher Rick Rector rrector@hmenews.com e ditor Liz Beaulieu ebeaulieu@hmenews.com managing e ditor Theresa Flaherty tflaherty@hmenews.com contributing editor John Andrews e ditorial d irector Brook Taliaferro e ditorial & a dvertising o ffice 106 Lafayette Street PO Box 998 Yarmouth, ME 04096 207-846-0600 (fax) 207-846-0657 advertising account manager Jo-Ellen Reed jreed@hmenews.com advertising coordinator Christina Dubois cdubois@hmenews.com Production director Lise Dubois ldubois@unitedpublications.com re P rints For custom reprints or digital reuse, please contact our reprint partner, The YGS Group, by calling 717-505-9701, ext. 100, or unitedpublications@theygsgroup.com a rt c redits Steve Meyers: cartoon s ubscri P tion i nformation www.hmenews.com/subscribe HME News PO Box 47860 Plymouth, MN 55447-0860 800-869-6882 Publishers of specialized business newspapers including HME News and Security Systems News. Producers of the HME News Business Summit and the Home Health Technology Summit. President & ceo J.G. Taliaferro, Jr. vice President Rick Rector Miriam Lieber: I learned from the best 2017: The year in review O ver the last six months, I have had the unfortunate experience of learn- ing about h M e from the inside out. My mother-in-law, Phyllis Kraemer, a pioneer in the h M e industry and my mentor, spent the last six months on palliative and hospice care. Ironically, she never wanted to be a user of h M e , but in the end, she was apprecia- tive of the hospital bed, transport chair and walker she used readily as her health declined. t hanks to my friends and colleagues in the h M e industry who provided the equipment on little to no notice and gratis, giving her the ability to live her final months with little pain. She used the equipment with gratitude and grace, the way she taught me to perform in the h M e industry. She outlived her sentence by so many years that she made it to engagements, weddings, baby showers, graduations, dance recitals, museums and galleries, shopping malls, countless meals out, and more. She perse- vered as she was told six years ago that she had six months to a year to live, the odds she defied for more than five years, steadfast and strong to the very end. In fact, her last out- ing was to meet her first great granddaughter, something she had been waiting for since she learned about the impending arrival. It was literally her final day of lucidity, ending just the way she seemed to have planned it. Always planning and full of zest and vigor, Phyllis taught me early on how to be a valu- able employee. As a young and novice staff member in their billing service company, I learned how to enter data to process h M e claims, as well as how to present to providers on billing and other related operational topics. It was Phyllis who accompanied me on my first public speak- ing engagement in Phoenix at the age of 26. She gave me the proverbial pep talk over lunch just prior to the presentation. h er words of encour- agement: "You can do this, Miriam, you know your stuff and you just have to impart your knowledge on the audience…" She helped me believe in myself, training me to teach by example and experi- ence, ensuring that the audience knew that as a biller (data entry specialist), I was doing what they did. At the time, we ran a bill- ing service for 500 clients. As the customer service manager over all data entry, I was responsible for making sure the bills got sent to Medicare (and other payers) properly. It was Phyllis who taught me to communicate, never compromise my integrity, and stand up with conviction for what I believed was right, even if it wasn't popular. It was Phyllis and Paul Kraemer, a hus- band-and-wife team, who ran the preemi- nent billing service when h M e companies were just starting to bill electronically. t hey were always one step ahead, billing Medicare tape-to-tape when most businesses filed 1,500 claim forms by snail mail. In the days when Medicare made up the vast majority of rev- enue, their company, AMBI, billed for most of the major national h M e companies, as well as the smaller, independent providers. t hey taught thousands how to establish and run a business via their popular five-day training program in Santa Monica, Calif., and else- where around the country. e ventually I began teaching parts of the training school, initially a nerve-wracking experience for which I am eternally grate- ful today. Although their expectations were excruciatingly high, I learned from the best in the industry, something that has taught me an invaluable lesson and earned me a life long career for which I implicitly credit them. In fact, I still use many of their anecdotes and techniques that I believe are still the best in the business. I am lucky to have learned under Phyllis and Paul. With Phyllis's passing, a gaping hole is left, a void I cannot fill. h owever, I have inherited the position of their h M e industry legacy, and their unbridled and relentless pas- sion for excellence. t hose are definitely some big shoes to fill. —Miriam Lieber is president of Lieber Consulting LLC. #1 States move to single-source more and more DME #2 Tougher times ahead: Impact of rate cuts pile up #3 All eyes on new bid-related rule #4 Turmoil continues at Pacific Pulmonary #5 CMS adds teeth to bid program #6 HME infrastructure crumbles #7 Linde-Praxair: Will merger have impact on HME? #8 Caught on tape: Criticism of bid program mixed in with criticism of Obamacare #9 Pacific Pulmonary settles whistle- blower lawsuit #10 'Right this wrong,' providers tell CMS Most read stories T he No. 1 most read story surpris- es me—and it doesn't. It surprises me because it's not competitive bidding related. o n the face, it's even what we call a "state story," mean- ing it doesn't even apply to every provider everywhere. But it doesn't surprise me, because it's representative of the increasing influence of managed care organizations in h M e payment and policy. And when those organizations have multiple compa- nies in multiple states, it becomes bigger than t exas or Indiana. Competitive bidding may not be the sub- ject of the No. 1 most read story, but have no fear, it's still well represented in this year's list. t he stories have to do with the impact of the program (41% of providers across the country have dropped Medicare or closed their doors since July 1, 2013,) and efforts to reform it (an interim final rule stuck at the o ffice of Management and Budget would purportedly provide relief in non-bid areas). t B h , I am surprised that no stories about h . r . 4229, which would extend a retroactive delay of a second round of reimbursement cuts in non-bid areas, made this year's list. t here are always stories on the most read list about national and regional providers and this year's no different, with stories about layoffs at Pacific Pulmonary and the merger of Linde and Praxair. Noticeably absent are any stories about the traditional nationals like Lincare or Apria h ealthcare or r otech h ealthcare, which is probably a testament to how quiet (i.e. inactive) they've been. If I had to pick one story that made the list that surprised me the most it's No. 8. It's bid-related, so it had that going for it, but it was kind of an obscure story, stem- ming from a tweet from then hh S Secretary t om Price. t he story detailed a video made by hh S meant to support efforts to repeal o bamacare and that actually featured an h M e provider who was more concerned about competitive bidding. I got tipped to the story from another provider on twitter, a good example of why it's important to be there and interact with all of you. I compiled this list at press time in early December, so don't get me wrong, some- thing big could happen before the year is out that could impact the most read stories for 2017—namely, h . r . 4229 gets passed as part of broader legislation—in which case, I'll happily edit and update this list. hme

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