Reporter's notebook: "Don't harp on good old days'

Monday, December 22, 2014

Every month, I have many interesting and insightful conversations with HME providers across the country. They share their stories and their observations and I note it all, whether or not it makes it into a story. One thing is certain, these days nobody is standing still.

Four-letter word

Provider Tyler Riddle says he is seeing more startups than he would have thought possible, although the second-generation provider says he can’t understand why anyone would want to get into the HME business.

“I hear everyday about the good old days,” said Riddle, president of Albany, Ga.-based MRS Homecare. “The ‘good old days’ is a four-letter word in my organization. We cannot harp on that. We are picking up new oxygen patients left and right—we are booming.”

Take my patients, please

Provider Ron Jenkins says he sees signs of an industry in distress all around him.

“Unfortunately, friends are going out of business,” said Jenkins, CEO of Respitec Medical in Longwood, Fla. “I had one the other day say, ‘Please, just take my 50 patients.’ It isn’t easy.”

Just say no

While some providers are afraid to turn down any business, D.J. Larson say it’s not worth it to do something that’s not profitable. Lehan Drugs, in Dekalb, Ill., was subcontracting for walkers, wheelchairs, oxygen and CPAP, but not any more.

“It was not worth the time and effort that we were spending on it,” said Larson, vice president of sales and marketing. “We should get the majority of the money for doing all the work. The (contract holders) are just kind of hitting send and bill.”