Heard at the Summit: Branch out and mind your data

Friday, September 12, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS – With the explosion of interest in post-acute care, it’s time for HME providers to get off the sidelines, said the speakers at last week’s HME News Business Summit.

“I can’t think of a more meaningful time for the HME industry to stand up and shine than right now,” said speaker Tom Sayre, vice president of strategy and business development for CHI Health at Home, the national home health services division of Catholic Health Initiatives. “It’s time for the industry to reach out in meaningful ways—that’s what population health management is.”

The Summit, held Sept. 7-9 in Minneapolis, featured sessions that ran the gamut from healthcare reform to investment in HME.

But a common thread throughout: data’s role in helping HME providers secure their rightful position in the post-acute care lineup.

“You have to be a data freak,” said panelist and provider Gregory LoPresti, senior vice president and CEO of Upstate HomeCare. “It’s out there—you just have to collect it.”

Be accountable—to the right patients

It’s time to stop fixating on the 5% of Medicare beneficiaries who consume 60% of Medicare dollars, mostly in the last 18 months of their lives, speaker and consultant Andy Edeburn told attendees.

“Our inability to manage our own behavior will be our demise,” said Edeburn, vice president of continuum strategies for the Health Dimensions Group. “If we manage behavior more efficiently, we can reduce the number of people who get to that 5%.”

Prove your value

In the past, hospitals didn’t care about penalties, but now, hospital admissions and margins are going down, and penalties are going up. That’s an opportunity for HME providers to capitalize on what they have to offer—as long as they have the data to back it up.

“Show them what their readmission rate is, show them what your readmission rate is, and over time,” said speaker Alan Morris, director of business development for HealthCall. “Then tell them, ‘Here’s the evidence to prove it and let’s talk about what this means for your bottom line.’”

Here to stay

As if to underscore the value of home care, a panel of private equity investors told attendees that, despite its challenges, HME is an exciting market to be in.

“This is a market that is not going away,” said panelist Jeff Lipsitz, managing partner with Cortec Group, which has investments in Harmar and 101 Mobility. “No matter what the government tries to do, there is a wave of older folks that want your products and to stay in their homes.”