Reporter's notebook: "Don't sit and wait'
It seems like every time CMS releases a new policy, another HME provider closes its doors, which is why expanding in this industry can sometimes be an accomplishment in and of itself.
Access Medical is one such company that has managed to grow while others are shrinking.
“We have a special uniqueness,” said CEO Blaine Hunt.
The Carlsbad, Calif.-based company recently doubled in size, opening two new locations, in Burlingame and Palm Desert, Calif., with plans to open more locations outside the state in the future.
Thanks to Medicare, Medi-Cal and contracts with medical groups and managed care clients, revenues have grown 100% each year since 2008.
Hunt’s advice to other providers: Be credentialed.
With four ATP/SMSs, Access Medical is actively trying to become the most clinically-oriented provider in the state.
“When clinicians and physicians hear how we talk, they see that we are not salespeople, but medical professionals and that creates an element of trust,” said Hunt. “That causes them to want to refer more patients.”
Another strength: customer service.
When fitting patients for custom wheelchairs, Access Medical provides payers with a written explanation of every line item and why each one is medically necessary.
“I think that level of confidence and trust has boosted our organization and the level of trust the community has in us,” says Steve Sweetman, vice president of managed care.
And finally: Be proactive.
“We will literally go out and request the orders. We will market. We will introduce ourselves,” said Hunt. “In today’s world, if you want to thrive, you can’t sit and wait.”