Providers ask, what’s next?

‘The Medicare model is not a lasting model,’ says speaker Wayne Slavitt
Friday, September 23, 2016

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Bernie Zimmer, Wayne Slavitt and Dr. Joseph Krainin all have different approaches to the HME industry, but they all believe this: Play the hand you’ve been dealt.

“We always need to be thinking what’s next,” said Zimmer, who has shifted his company, CHME in Foster City, Calif., largely away from Medicare and its competitive bidding program, toward a capitated business model with local and regional health plans. “Don’t come into my office if you want to talk to me about what’s happened.”

Zimmer, Slavitt and Krainin participated in a panel session at the HME News Business Summit last week titled “Mavericks: Shake up what it means to be in HME.”

It’s not easy, always thinking about what’s next, Zimmer acknowledges. To show health plans that CHME was a company worth working with and paying more, he dove into analytics, boosting his staff with IT engineers instead of customer service representatives.

“We blew up our office,” he said.

A former director of a sleep lab, Krainin has also grown disenchanted with Medicare and its regulations and reimbursement restrictions. So much so, that he started an all-cash business, Singular Sleep in Mount Pleasant, S.C., that offers online consultations with sleep health providers, home sleep tests and an array of sleep health products.

“I’m so much happier,” he said. “We’re growing, and we continue to grow. People forget that medicine is a business.”

Krainin says working with patients who are willing to pay cash are the patients you want to work with.

“Medicaid patients—their compliance is low, they have no skin in the game,” he said. “My patients have an incentive to get healthy and stay healthy.”

Slavitt, founder and CEO of Mobül, has also found refuge in an all-cash business, selling HME from a slick showroom in Long Beach, Calif.

“The Medicare model is not a lasting model,” he said. “It’s not going away, but (providers) have been forced to rethink their business models.”

Zimmer says he still serves patients with insurance, whether it be Medicare or something else, because “that’s just what I’m passionate about.”

“There’s room for all us—the new wave of retail, the new models of delivery,” he said.