He's no Inspector Gadget
When Bob Weir first started as an inspector, the word accreditation would cause the hairs on an HME provider’s neck to stand up. “They would get very defensive,” he said. Now, it’s part of a provider’s daily operations. After 15 years, Weir is no longer contracted with an accreditation organization to conduct inspections (Most recently, he was contracted with HQAA, and before that ACHC). Here’s what he had to say about what he’s seen over the years when providers opened their doors to him and his checklist, and what’s in store for him next.
HME News: What’s the biggest shift in business you’ve seen?
Bob Weir: When I started, most providers were 75% Medicare. That was their reimbursement stream. Now they’re 25% to 30% Medicare. They’re also doing Medicaid and third-party insurance and cash. For cash, it has taken awhile for baby boomers to take out their Amex cards, but they’re doing it now.
HME: What about when the accreditation requirement went into effect in 2009—how did that, specifically, shift business?
Weir: I think providers have made leaps and bounds. In 2009, when you’d go in, you pretty much looked at what they were saying they were going to do because they had nothing. By 2015, it was all pretty much integrated into their operations.
HME: Have you found that providers are thankful that they’ve had to go through the process?
Weir: I don’t know if they were kissing up to me or what, but yes. It’s like, in 2009, people didn’t like Brightree; in 2012, they were OK with it; in 2015, they love it. Change is hard. Still, I’m sure when I left, people said, “Thank God he’s out of here.”
HME: Why are accreditation organizations downsizing their roster of surveyors?
Weir: I think if Medicare’s plan was to put small independent providers out of business, they’re doing a great job. There’s a slow down in the number of inspections needed because of that. It’s almost ridiculous when you talk about capitalism and then you throw something like competitive bidding out there.
HME: What’s next for you?
Weir: I started working in this industry when I was 12—my older brother had a respiratory homecare business—so I’ve being doing this for 47 years. I’m a musician and I play in bands, so I have that. But I’d still like to find an organization that I can do spotinspections for. It’s the longest thing I’ve ever done. I’m an inspector. That’s what I do for a living.