Q&A: Ron Dixon of Laboratory Tactical Consulting
ATLANTA – If Ron Dixon could give just two pieces of advice to HME providers who are struggling, it’s this: Find your niche and tighten up your operations.
Here’s what Dixon, who recently joined Laboratory Tactical Consulting as vice president of consulting, had to say about why providers need to place their “hope” in themselves and their companies, and not necessarily the possible reversal of Medicare reimbursement cuts.
HME News: You previously worked for Brightree and before that Rotech Healthcare. What do you bring to the table from those experiences?
Ron Dixon: With Rotech, they would find themselves in growth mode, see what department was responsible for that growth, and scale it appropriately. With the cuts and freezes, all companies should be doing this kind of analysis. Everyone needs to be looking at, what’s going to be our niche?
HME: It does seem like the days of the full-line HME provider are dwindling.
Dixon: There aren’t a lot of “jacks of all trades” anymore. Providers have to define their niche. Competitive bidding, whether you “won” or “lost,” is a great opportunity to better define what you’re going to be. The light at the tunnel is just that, finding your niche and focusing on that positive for the future.
HME: Do you find that providers are ready to make those types of decisions?
Dixon: One of the things that still surprises me is that we’re on the third cycle of competitive bidding and yet there’s still hope that something will save us. They’re not planning ahead because their hope overrides that.
HME: Looking at your experience consulting HME providers, what’s a good example of a difference you have made?
Dixon: I’m big on operations. I like to go into distressed companies with high DSO and look at their operational workflow. I like to build in structure with checks and balances. It’s gratifying when I can help a provider do that—I saw one provider go from a DSO of 120 to 60 in six months. There have been three or four companies like that.
HME: You’re known as “The Professor” at Laboratory Tactical. Why?
Dixon: I like to go into the minutiae. I dissect a problem to determine its root causes. Then I look at the individual components so I can build it back up the way it needs to be built back up. I’ll tell you everything you never wanted to know and more.