Odds and ends

Monday, July 31, 2006

As usual, the industry offered up no shortage of news this month, but rather than focus on one topic, I've decided to address a few I found particularly interesting.
- First off, one word should hit you right between the eyes as you read this issue: SERVICE. It's everywhere. No one said, "It's the service, stupid." But they might just as well have--and if they had, they'd be right. As the industry fights its battle with forces intent on slashing reimbursement, all that really matters is service and its importance to beneficiaries. Forget about how much you pay for gas, employee training, insurance, etc. Lawmakers don't care. It's service, service, service, and when beneficiaries start screaming about not getting it, lawmakers will listen.
- But let's not be naive. Nothing gets a legislator's attention like money intended to help them get re-elected. Some providers realize this--but not nearly enough. Turnout at AAHomecare's June Legislative Conference in Washington, for example, was disappointingly low. Why aren't more providers involved in industry lobbying initiatives. Speculation abounds, and not all of it flattering to those sitting on the sidelines. See the story on page 1.
- Hats off to all the providers taking part in community events designed to help the patients they serve. These stories show HMEs as smart business people and caring, involved healthcare professionals. More people in power need to hear about these kinds of activities. Check out the Petersen Medical story on page 23.
- When was the last time you heard The Scooter Store and Walt Disney mentioned in the same breath? The giant provider may be a company that smaller rehab professionals love to hate, but Scooter Store execs sure seem to know how to treat their employees, says consultant Bob Nelson on page 33.
- Speaking of service, did you see on page 23 where Rotech considers VA contracts supply and not service arrangements? That's a position you don't hear a provider espousing very often.
- Finally, check out Steve Meyers' cartoon (in print edition). It's all about (you guessed it) service and bound to leave you smiling--even if it makes you want to cry.