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Better messaging

Better messaging

The cartoons that appear on these pages come easier some months than others.

This wasn’t one of those months.

Managing Editor Theresa Flaherty and I were nearly pulling out our hair after about two days of tossing around ideas, none of them sticking to our satisfaction.

(Among those that fell on the cutting room floor: My idea to have an HME provider in a home setting up a patient on, say, an oxygen concentrator and other health care providers trying to get into the home any which way they can – through the door and the windows, down the chimney. The point being, post-pandemic, more and more providers are looking at increasing care in the home – a certain new alliance between Amazon Care, Intermountain and Ascension for a hospital-at-home program comes to mind. But Theresa wasn’t drinking my Kool-Aid, which is not uncommon.)

By the afternoon of the second day, we tentatively agreed on a cartoon inspired by Theresa’s reporting on the Texas ice storm and the lengths to which HME providers went to continue serving patients. Two anecdotes from that story stick out: A tech’s vehicle having to be pulled out of a ditch, and a tech walking tanks to a patient’s home, because a road was impassable.

We decided on a cartoon depicting the latter. It’s what we call a statement cartoon vs. a funny, haha cartoon.

In the midst of our hair pulling, we learned of the results of VGM’s survey on delivery costs. The goal of the survey, which was completed by nearly 100 providers: determining “the real cost of providing equipment, such as oxygen concentrators, hospital beds, mobility equipment and more, to patient homes before and during the public health emergency.”

In the New England region, providers reported average total delivery costs were up 37%. In the Plains region, up 24%. In the Far West region, up 19%.

So here we have this image in our heads of providers going to great lengths to continue serving patients not only during a pandemic but also during a natural disaster, and their costs are increased and their reimbursement is decreased.

We decided to modify the initial cartoon to what you see below.

“It’s better messaging,” Theresa said.

It sure is.


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