Contract providers gear up for July 1

Saturday, May 31, 2008

YARMOUTH, Maine--With contracts for Round 1 bid winners signed, the ramp-up process has begun full-force.

“We’ve been interviewing people left and right,” said Chris Rice, director or marketing for Riverside, Calif.-based Diamond Respiratory Care.

“We’re adding on trucks, products, service.”

The process began before the provider’s winning bids were submitted. Rice worked from a basic blueprint to estimate what Diamond would need to successfully service a contract but admits much of it right now is guesswork.

It is difficult to calculate what a winning provider needs, agrees Raul Lopez, operations manager for Miami Lakes, Fla.-based Bayshore Dura Medical, which won contracts in eight categories.

“We’re looking at areas where we can streamline the organization,” he said. “We want to make sure it runs smoother and we are reducing our time to process orders and bill Medicare.”

Mail order provider Home Care Delivered has spent nearly five years preparing for competitive bidding, said Kristen McKeever, assistant marketing manager for the Richmond, Va.-based company.

“We have a really scalable business,” said McKeever. “We have a separate call center in Clarksville that is capable of holding 100 more bodies, so if we intake 8,000 new patients in a month we are capable of that.”

Jerry Jeanes, owner of Denton, Texas-based Choice Medical Equipment signed a contract to provide oxygen in Dallas-Fort Worth, but he still planned to lobby against the program.

“We’ve given our customers information for lawmakers and encouraged them to contact them,” he said. “The public has no idea what’s going on.”