Competitive bidding: Plan for the worst, hope for the best

Thursday, November 18, 2010

ATLANTA - The HME industry continues to fight like hell to eliminate competitive bidding but success is very uncertain, which means providers should hope for the best but plan for the worst, according to business leaders.

That was a point of discussion during a panel discussion with industry leaders at Medtrade last week sponsored by The MED Group. One question went something like this: What's the best piece of business advice you would give providers?

Here are some of the answers:

Doug Frances, senior vice president, Drive Medical

Start referring to patients as customers because that is what they are. In addition to the products they've been prescribed, what else do they need? This doesn't mean to sell them things just to make a sale: Sell them products that will improve their lives.

Dave Jacobs, senior vice president, Medline

Must be something to this idea of treating patients like customers because Jacobs had a similar take. He advised providers to maximize the business they do with their current customer base. There's a great opportunity to do more business with patients who already trust you and probably need more of the products you offer.

Carl Will, senior vice president, Invacare

Make sure your company is generating cash or that you have a good source of funding. If you chase sales but don't have the cash to support that growth "it can be the end of you."

Scott Meuser, CEO, Pride Mobility

Too many providers have a business strategy to struggle instead of a strategy to win. Figure out what you are good at and work to be great at it.