On the road: Dan Smith seeks members in lower 48

Thursday, May 10, 2012

WASHINGTON - Dan Smith has spent the last year traveling the country three weeks out of every month, working to recruit new AAHomecare members. He recently spoke with HME News about why providers should make room in their budgets for AAHomecare.

HME News: The director of membership sales and marketing is a new position for AAHomecare. How did you get into it?

Dan Smith: I was an RTS provider in the ’80s, I was a manufacturer in the ’90s and I recruited providers for The MED Group for 12 years. You could come shake me at 3 o’clock in the morning and ask me a question and I know it. It’s in my DNA. So this was a good fit.

HME: What are you hearing from providers on the road?

Smith: Even though we go out to all the state shows, people just think of us being in D.C. A lot of providers are taken aback—in a good way—like, “Here’s this guy in my office asking me questions and listening to my needs.”

HME: What are the big issues for them?

Smith: With competitive bidding, there’s a lot of doom and gloom, anxiety, pressure, downsizing, revenue, cash flow—all that fun stuff. A lot of this is listening to them, understanding their revenue mix, their product mix, what the tea leaves are saying to them, what they are going to do about the bid.

HME: Where does AAHomecare come in?

Smith: Honestly, logic says the bigger we are—we, the industry, we, the lobby—the harder it is for Medicare to take your money. And the smaller we are, the easier it is for Medicare to take your money. 

HME: Are you able to recruit new members, or are providers finding it hard to come up with membership fees?

Smith: Both, and because of the downward pressure on the revenues, it’s a little more challenging. It’s an unusual dynamic, because the harder it is for the providers out there, the more apparent the need for our efforts is.


Interesting, one would think a self-proclaimed staunch industry advocate courting members on a platform of willingness to answer a "call to arms" would have offered some support to the Nichole Medical case currently being waged in The Third Circuit Court in Philadelphia.  After all, the entire case before The Court is an issue that should be of the utmost concern for all Providers that being CMS's Contracted Auditors.  The result of the case will certainly have a collateral affect on the entire healthcare industry good or bad but probably more for HME Providers. Enough articles have been written and published thanks to HME News for almost every HME Provider to be aware of The Company's chain of events and progression.

I will tell you, while I wish you luck in your recruitment NO matter how many members you recruit; you will NEVER be bigger than CMS.  CMS may give you the satisfaction of entertaing anything you or anyone may bring to the table but if the past eight years have taught me anything make no mistake "CMS is the King and ALL the Providers are servants to the King"!!

Thats what i have been saying all along. I think this industry needs to form  union. The whole purpose of CMS is to reduce cost no matter who gets hurt in the process. There is no doubt that fraud does exist and i support eradicating fraud but the method is flawed. Take ScooterStore for example, prior to this who capped rental stuff, they received in the excess of 90 million from Medicare and there revenue dipped to about 58million. This is a big company, now think about whats happening to small providers nationwide.

Chris, NO unionization will ever work.  The industry is too fractured and you will always have the rebels who will freelance the system.  The worse is you will only anger the "King" if he feels you are trying to form an army against him!  History has shown that doesn't work! 

The only successful magic bullet would be and you can take this to the bank "Federal Licensing" using the same system that has worked for hemodialysis entities, hospitals & outpatient stand alone facilities for decades via a "Certificate of Need"(CON).  Here is what it brings to the table.  It shores up the industry because to be licensed you will need to provide the need does exist in a geographic area and of course you will need to provide the ability to serve the area correctly as stipulated by Federal regulations including background checks.  The License also becomes an asset of the business.  A marketable commodity much like a liquor License or a medalion to operate a cab.  Should the business be up for sale then whoever would want to buy the business would have to qualify for the Licensure.  The "CON" as it is commonly referred will almost guarantee a patient population to substantiate the entity.  The "CON" can be drafted to pertain to a neighborhood, city and/or state.  It doesn't limit your draw to within the area either.  It is just a means of controlling enough providers to accomodate a population and to support the financial stability of the entity. It has worked for hemodialysis companies and other medical entities for decades and they all have thrived and survived very well.  I know, I was an employee for the biggest hemodialysis Company in the world for several years.  As a matter of fact you could say it was the Flagship "Pioneer" of the industry.

Now of course there will be those who do not agreee and yes it would be a massive undertaking in the beginning but for those I would say you don't read too many articles about the assaults on Providers for other medical services such like those of HME.  If you do they are few and far between.  This is what the industry needs to place it on solid footing with CMS and thin out the herd from the undesireables.