Thursday, July 31, 2008

Q. If I join an HME association, what is the return on my investment?

A. As the executive director of the Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services (MAMES) and the Arizona Medical Equipment Suppliers Association (AZMESA), potential members regularly ask me: “If I join the association, what is the return on my investment?”

The short answer is your company’s continued growth and survival.

In the current volatile HME environment, I cannot imagine a company going it alone and trying to stay up to date on all the changes taking place on an hourly, daily and weekly basis. It may be difficult to quantify the actual dollar return on membership dues invested. There’s no question, however, that the up-to-date information that HME associations provide members in today’s hectic HME world is invaluable.

The communication vehicles provided by associations keep members in the loop and up to speed as we fight to protect our industry, our businesses and our beneficiaries from those who want to continue to cut reimbursement, reduce the quality of products and services and reduce the number of providers available to service those who need our services so desperately.

Our Web sites provide members with the most up to date industry information. This, in turn, helps them to effectively advocate for industry interests at the state and national level. By communicating information to members daily-via e-mail and telephone-we also make sure they receive the reimbursement dollars they are entitled to.

Our annual conventions, state level meetings and ongoing educational sessions are critical teaching tools for members and their staffs. These events are cost-effective ways to help members train employees and build more efficient businesses.

In a nutshell, membership in an HME association provides one of the most valuable returns available: knowledge.

Rose Schafhauser is the executive director of the Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services