A fight worth fighting

Friday, December 20, 2013

It was while watching his father struggle with COPD that Jim Spellman, the newly-elected president of the Wisconsin Association of Medical Equipment Services (WAMES), learned what the HME industry means to patients. Since entering the industry in 1995, he has delivered oxygen, sold medical equipment and helped start a respiratory company in Milwaukee. Here’s what Spellman, the operations manager for Home Care Medical, had to say about his vision for the association and the importance of lobbying.

HME News: What brought you into the HME industry, and what’s made you stay?

Jim Spellman: My dad retired from his job—it’s funny how this works—and right after he retired, he got sick and went on supplemental oxygen. The guy who delivered his oxygen had this great relationship with my dad. I thought it was a great job and my dad needed those services. That’s how I got started, delivering oxygen for a company in Illinois. 

HME: You delivered oxygen, helped start an oxygen company, and now are operations manager. How has your perspective of the industry changed?

Spellman: The biggest eye opener at Home Care Medical was the scope of services. Coming from a respiratory provider to a full-service DME provider—with pharmacy, DME, power wheelchairs, service and repair department, and retail stores—I didn’t realize how big DME was. It opened my eyes to just how much need there is for people in their homes. 

HME: What are your goals for WAMES?

Spellman: I want WAMES to be a premier organization that providers think of when they have questions. Although I believe this is the case already, it’s something we want to expand and grow. We want to be a resource and partner with providers and healthcare organizations. 

HME: What are some of the association’s legislative goals? How do those affect national issues surrounding HME?

Spellman: WAMES wants to make sure appropriate companies are providing equipment and services to Wisconsin beneficiaries. Nationally, we’re partnering with and using other states with similar issues as resources and collaborating with them. 

HME: Why is lobbying so 


Spellman: It takes sacrifice, dedication and time from people willing to think of the future of the HME industry, to work together to strengthen and preserve the DME community that provides to our seniors. The legislative fight is one worth fighting. These companies provide products people need. I want to do my part and I want WAMES to do its part to help keep these organizations viable, to keep delivering services people need.