HMEs: 'not making profits that amount to anything'

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I am so tired of fighting Medicare. All I want to do is take care of patients and be allowed to make a profit. Nothing exorbitant, just a living. No one in this industry is overpaid, especially when compared to other industries with like positions. I do not understand why CMS will not leave us alone. They should go clean up the fraud. The savings would be huge--not only in DME but for all Medicare provider groups.
The short story is that medical equipment companies, both dealers and manufacturers--with a single exception, Lincare--are not making profits that amount to anything. The financial statistics are public information, and I personally would be willing to, and will, furnish my financials to Congress to verify that expenses and salaries are inline and profits are small.
What you have in HME are legitimate companies trying to find ways to make enough money to keep their doors open and/or the shareholders happy. I am talking about legitimate providers just doing what is right in an effort to make an acceptable bottom line. Profits are not exorbitant. Facts are available to prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt. Why are these facts being ignored? We make no more money and draw no higher salaries and have no larger expenses than any other industry. Apria makes less than a 6% bottom-line profit. American Home Patient is coming out of bankruptcy. Congress is ignoring the facts.
Why does HME News not take up this topic and do some research as to the profitability of the public companies, both dealers and manufacturers? Write an article that proves our financial woes--not just a bunch of whining anecdotes and dire predictions of the woe for the patients. You guys have access to the hard financial data and could really make a serious impact if you printed hard and irrefutable financial information. Print net incomes, net income percentages, CEO wages, the salaries of drivers and administrative people. Congress is hurting the little guy: the small business man and the Average Joe working person, the $10-per-hour person.
The pursuit of profit will force dealers and manufacturers alike to seek relief overseas. This increases the trade deficit and unemployment, diminishes our manufacturing base, lessens the quality of the products provided and will put a significant number of dealers out of business. All of these things have an impact on Medicare recipients.
-Joel Holland, president, Holland Medical, Nashville, Tenn.