NewsPoll: Providers express optimism, pessimism

Friday, October 17, 2014

YARMOUTH, Maine – Come Nov. 4, HME providers say they will do their civic duty and vote. Whether they expect it to make a difference is another story.

“I feel like we have to vote to do our part, but I don’t see changes coming due to this election,” said Sandi Hall, of Tri-State Respiratory in Cleveland, Tenn. “It feels as if not enough senators and congressmen see the real picture.”

In a recent HME NewsPoll, nearly 100% of providers say they will vote; 65% say they expect the election outcomes to have an impact.

“I’m hopeful new members will shake things up and finally start passing legislation that not only improves our economy but shows CMS and other government agencies that we have to be smart,” said Lori Sears, owner of Active Home Medical Supply in Lapeer, Mich. “Just because you save Medicare Part B dollars doesn’t mean you’re saving CMS money overall.”

The other 45% of providers are feeling decidedly pessimistic about politics.

“I have never disliked our government more than I have the past four years,” said Michael Mayfield, of Signature Healthcare in Hunt Valley, Md. “Their inability to see the positive impact our industry has on healthcare costs is beyond comprehension.”

Providers rank the economy as their top concern (52%), followed by health care (38%) and industry-specific issues like audits and competitive bidding (29%). 

It’s important to keep pushing for change, say providers.

“We have to pursue them diligently with our issues before and after they are elected,” said one provider. “We have to remind them of the consequences of their bad public policy. I’ll vote Democratic and hope they behave like Democrats.”

Other providers say its time to put Republicans back in charge.

“If we don’t put all Republicans in office, we will be in deeper water than we are in now,” said one provider.

One thing is certain: The Affordable Care Act, which became law in 2010, remains unpopular with providers.

“If we cannot get Obamacare overturned, and get a handle on audits, our industry will continue to be adversely affected,” said one provider.