Medtrade Spring preview: Make yourself attractive to ACOs

Sunday, April 3, 2011

LAS VEGAS – Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) have the potential to drastically change patient care. Hospitals and physician groups will be incentivized to keep patients out of the system as much as possible, and there will be more dependence on HME providers to help reduce re-admissions, says Alan Morris. And that, says Morris, who will give a presentation at Medtrade Spring, April 12-14, in Las Vegas, means more opportunity, as well. 

HME News: What do HME providers need to know about ACOs?

Alan Morris: DME providers aren’t going to be included in ACOs, but they’re going to have to align themselves with ACOs and there’s going to be a race to the top to become the best provider of care that reduces those readmissions and shorten the length of stay. Providers are going to be challenged to do more than just provide durable medical equipment; they’re going to have to redefine who they are and add services that will make them much more attractive to those ACOs. 

HME: What kind of services?

Morris: There are retail opportunities, there are health-coaching opportunities, things of that nature. This really provides the HME provider with the opportunity to further inject itself into the continuum of care. I believe it’s one way where HME providers can change the perception of themselves in a positive way and really gain a nice amount of business.

HME: How would providers get paid for their services? If the ACO realizes savings, would they get a cut? 

Morris: The potential’s there. We’re hoping that HME will have a seat at the table, get involved in contract negotiations and get a cut of that if they can really prove that they’re helping in reducing readmission, shortening length of stay. Otherwise, for the equipment they provide, which will continue to be the primary portion of a HME’s business, they’ll still get paid by Medicare. 

HME: Will ACOs disappear under political opposition to healthcare reform? 

Morris: ACOs, from a political perspective, have been one of the few items that have been widely accepted by both parties. That’s one component that I don’t think has any chance of going away, unless there was to be a repeal of the bill in its entirety.

Name: Alan Morris 
Title/company: Director of Alternate Care Programs, VGM Group 
Services provided: Industry advocacy, regulatory interpretation, group buying 
Session: Accountable Care Organizations: What Are They and What Do They Mean to Your DME? 
Time: Tuesday, Apr 12, 2011 - 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM 
Contact: (800) 518-8479;