Florida network forms to tackle competitive bidding

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

TAMPA, Fla. - A group of 35 home medical equipment providers in and around Tampa, Fla., have created a network to take advantage of their combined buying power and other economies of scale.
Med Trust Tampa Bay is a direct but separate offshoot of Med Trust Corp. of South Florida, which formed in Miami early last year. Approximately 90 HME providers belong to the Miami organization, said Javier Talamo, who spearheaded that group.
Like VGM and MED Group--the Coke and Pepsi of HME member-service organizations--Med Trust members plan to submit bids for national competitive bidding as a network.
Additionally, by helping members get accredited and enforcing a strict standard of conduct, Med Trust aims to ensure compliance with all state and federal requirements, said Robert M. Arado, owner of CareMed Respiratory Services in Tampa, Fla., the force behind the new group.
"I've been in this business for 37 years and over the last 20 years, Florida has had a bum rap: a few (bad apples) have labeled the whole industry in Florida as a questionable industry," Arado said. "This is an excellent opportunity for us to clean this up. We are going to be very strict in who we accept into the network."
Arado has plans to start up similar networks in Orlando and Jacksonville.
"We will be able to go into insurance companies and say, 'We are a member of Med Trust and have statewide coverage,'" he said. "We have an opportunity to compete with large companies."