ON THE JUNE EDITORIAL
It is a disappointment to say the least that HME News would choose to beat up a state association without getting all of the facts. For the benefit of your readers and the integrity of your story - here are the facts:
We have a member who is also a member of VGM and AAHomecare. This member came to us in early March with concerns about National Competitive Bidding. On March 29, 2005 JAMES held a meeting and invited VGM, AAHomecare, the three other state associations in Region A, Cara Bachenheimer of Invacare, and the National Ostomy Association to discuss NCB.
Since there were major concerns VGM volunteered, to facilitate a conference call with all of the state associations. During that call Ohio indicated that we should contact AAHomecare. It was made clear that JAMES was not a member of AAHomecare. The fact that JAMES is not a member, does not negate the issues. They still exist! In an effort to give AAHomecare an opportunity to respond to concerns questions were forwarded.
VGM provided a room for executive directors and presidents to have a meeting. Karyn Estrella of NEMED the association chair, was to look at the original issues and there would be a response. We are waiting.
So, Mr. Sullivan, you can beat us up for responding to a member who is so frustrated he knows not where to turn except on a local level. It was done in an open forum and every entity that would have an interest was invited.
On June 13, 2005 JAMES renewed its membership in AAHomecare.
Jerry Francesco, President
Wendy Russalesi, Vice President
Russ Entrekin, Treasurer
Carla Garrrison, Secretary
Patrick Fratangelo, Board Member
Rick McCarthy, Board Member
Donald Downey, Board Member
Editor's Note: In the editorial that ran in the last issue of HME News, we did not mention JAMES.
I wanted to congratulate you on your editorial "Two acts of shame". I am sorry for our industry and country that you have to write it, but you did an excellent job. Perhaps if more people would write like you, such editorials would become a thing of the past.
Anyway, WELL DONE, one great editorial.
--Steve Kuehn is president of Genairex, Inc.
Absolutely terrific editorial in June's issue! Both 'Acts' are right-on the mark. I love HME NEWS.
--John Teevan is president of HOME CARE MEDICAL, INC.
WAL MART AIN'T NO 'PARTNER'
I am an independent DME provider in the Charlotte N.C. area. I spent thirty years in the fiber/textile industry and observed first hand what Wal-Mart has done to the textile industry. Mr. Grogan is exactly, spot on right in each and every observation that he made concerning the real agenda that Wal-Mart has, and that is to dominate everything and make all the money. All that partner stuff is meant for the naive in the case of Wal-Mart. Keep up the good reporting.
--Franklin Trammell is the owner of Carolina's Home Medical Equipment, Inc.
CONGRATS ON 10 YEARS
Loved your retrospective look at the l995 and today's market. Mostly, I appreciate the frankness that is displayed in almost every issue. We face so many obstacles in today's market that many providers are getting much closer to simply giving up. The backlog of claims has made many small HME's A/R look ugly and the myriad of steps it now takes for a legitimate provider to even get a claim validated has never been worse.
As President of the Illinois Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers(IAMES), we heard this firsthand from many of our providers. Accreditation and the new compliance standards have done nothing more than add overhead to a business that is having difficulty seeing the water's edge. Freezing the CPI will hurt more and more every year. The potential of Competitive Bidding - Socialized Medical Equipment at its best - looms as one major nail in most of our businesses. Evidently, capitalism doesn't play in the HME market.
At Medtrade in Las Vegas, there was a concerted effort to pour enough lime on this pile to get a better smell out of it. Some, probably many, will survive and potentially thrive. On the other hand, our numbers will surely shrink. And, as I pointed out at our annual meeting, the one telltale sign that is undeniable is that there are no new players getting in the game. Believe me, I don't count Wal-Mart. No small businesses getting into the field, leaving it wide open to the nationals and franchises.
I shudder to think what effect the outcome will look like to the beneficiaries. However, we are somewhat to blame for being passive and simply taking what is being handed out. Outside of the Beltway, no one in either Florida or Texas would brag about the outcomes of the demonstration projects. Even Rotech, the eventual "winner" in Polk County, really didn't want the business.
Keep up the good work. We enjoy reading each and every issue.
-- John F. Tripp is vice president of Denman Services and president of IAMES