Not-so-strange bedfellows: politics & HME

Thursday, September 30, 2004

SHERIDAN, Wy. - In August, former HME owner Dave Kinskey won 47% of the vote in a seven-person runoff election and became one of two candidates for mayor of this town of 15,000. Voters will pick a winner Nov. 2.

“Afterwards, this guy came up to me on the street and said, ‘You’ve got the wind at your back now,’ Kinskey told HME News recently. “I said, ‘That’s not wind. That’s someone’s hot breathe trying to catch up with me. I’m running like hell, and I’m not looking back.’”

Two years ago, Kinskey sold his West Coast HME company, which he ran for 13 years, and moved back to his home town of Sheridan. If you’re wondering how running an HME company may prepare someone for politics, just ask Kinskey.

“Trying to manage an HME company in an environment of declining reimbursement, you constantly have to find a better way of doing things, and I think the same thing is true in the city of Sheridan,” Kinskey said.

“The demands for service are unlimited but you have a limited amount of revenue. And the city is a business in the same way home care is. Oxygen is different from nursing, which is different from infusion. I tell people that I’ve supervised pharmacists, nurses and respiratory therapists, but that I’m not a nurse, a pharmacist or a respiratory therapist.“

The key for both jobs, he said, is setting the expectation and service level, finding the right people and providing them with the appropriate resources and authority to get the job done. After you’ve done that, whether you’re mayor or the owner of an HME, you monitor performance, he said.