Providers find new ways to give back
HME providers aren’t the only ones struggling in the wake of competitive bidding. Nonprofits and various organizations that rely on charitable donations, including equipment, are feeling the pinch, too.
“When you’re faced with uncertainty, even ahead of the (national rollout), you have to look at some of the non-core expenditures and unfortunately that’s an area that, in any company, gets looked at pretty hard even though you want to be a good corporate citizen,” said Rick Adamich, president of Waukesha, Wis.-based Oxygen One.
One alternative to writing big checks is engaging in fundraising efforts at the staff level.
“The big fundraiser we did this year was for the Pulmonary Hypertension Association’s ‘O2 Breathe Walk,’” said Adamich. “Our staff created a team and we did a bunch of different fundraisers in the office—auctions, raffles—so the staff used a lot of their own money to donate to that cause.”
For Adamich’s part, he’s offered to “match” his employees’ efforts or sponsor nonprofit events as a company.
“We’ve kind of shifted away from how we’ve done things in the past,” he said. “But we didn’t stop completely.”
Some providers have had to give back to the community using other resources, such as time and labor.
“We save all the old parts when we do repairs,” said Angel Pardo, president of DMR in Doral, Fla. “Then, when people who don’t have insurance come in, we look at their chair and if we have previously owned parts in stock, we tell them we’d be happy to fix their chair for free.”
In the past, Pardo used to be able donate brand new wheelchairs on occasion.
“Now times are tough so you can’t exactly do that, but here’s something—other than the labor—that costs very little,” he said.
Like Pardo, George Kucka, CEO of Schererville, Ind.-based Fairmeadows Home Health Center, estimates that he’s had to cut back his company’s charitable contributions by 50%.
“We donate on a month-to-month basis,” said Kucka, who provides rollators, walkers, canes and crutches to more than 15 organizations. “We’re looking at our cash flow very tightly. Every month there are opportunities to give, and every month we assess where we’re going to fall.” HME