2013 worse than expected, according to poll
YARMOUTH, Maine – Net revenues for 2013 didn’t meet expectations for two-thirds of the respondents to a recent HME Newspoll.
Of the respondents who reported a decrease in net revenues in 2013, a majority (58%) reported a decrease of 10% or more. By contrast, in a previous poll, 63% of respondents said they expected net revenues to hold steady or increase in 2013.
Largely to blame for the change in tide: a spike in audits and other payment delays, respondents say.
“Had our pay times not slowed, we would have been slightly down for the year,” said one respondent who reported net revenues decreased by 10% or more. “It is hard to grow business and provide more jobs or raises when you cannot get paid for the work you do.”
An example of the havoc that audits and payment delays have wrought in 2013: One respondent dropped power mobility, enteral and incontinence, and laid off one-quarter of its staff to mitigate a cash flow problem created by a year-long wait for state Medicaid to pay for three pediatric wheelchairs.
Respondents also slammed competitive bidding—not only because it reduced reimbursement, but also because it shifted the overall market.
“Competitive bidding took a huge toll as expected,” said Lori Sears of Active Home Medical Supply. “What we didn’t expect was the increase in fierce competition in other areas like contracts and referrals.”
Of the respondents who reported an increase in net revenues in 2013, a majority (43%) reported an increase of no more than 5%. They credit an increase in retail and private pay business.
As for 2014? Despite a retail store that’s doing well, Manassas, Va.-based Prince Home Medical “anticipate(s) 2014 will see even more decreased revenues due to the grandfathered patients falling off,” said Syd Fortune.