Confidence. That's the mindset VGM exec Mark Higley most wants providers to adopt in the coming uncertain year. Demographics are on our side, he says, and he's confident home care's role in reducing institutional care admissions will be vindicated. He'll lay out his case in his Medtrade session, "The State of the HME Industry in 2011 & Beyond: Marketplace Overview, Financial Performance, Demographics, & Outlook." Here's a preview.
HME News: What are the issues that HME providers must pay attention to right now?
Mark Higley: On the macroeconomic end, regardless of how much we fight competitive bidding and other regulatory issues, there is a cost containment issue that is not going away. There has to be a trade-off between cost containment and balancing patient care. We also must review where the DME industry is heading with its supplier base. We've seen many companies going out of business while the large are getting larger.
HME: Your session will address how to "retool and retrain" to deal with new rulemaking. How will you advise providers to do this?
Higley: Sixty-two percent of all U.S. HME companies will be in the Round 2 competitive bidding program if it moves forward. I fear many providers will adopt a "wait-and-see" approach. HME providers need to reduce their accounts receivable via increased collection scrutiny, consider dropping unprofitable business segments, and look for new technology and methods to improve operational productivity. Most importantly--diversify your revenue sources and your payer mix.
HME: Describe what you envision as the HME industry of the future?
Higley: There have to be some efficiencies. There will be more patients, but less reimbursement. The market will expand, not due to higher reimbursement, but because there are more people to take care of. The industry may finally be recognized as a cost-saving method, an alternative to institutional care.
Mark J. Higley
Title/company: vice president, development
Services provided: National HME buying group
Session: "The State of the HME Industry in 2011 & Beyond: Marketplace Overview, Financial Performance, Demographics, & Outlook"
Date: Monday, Oct. 24, 2011 / 1:45 PM to 2:45 p.m.
Contact: (888) 224-1631 / firstname.lastname@example.org