Spin City

Monday, November 26, 2012

I had an interesting conversation with Bob McCoy recently. McCoy is a respiratory therapist (RT) and the managing director of Valley Inspired Products.

In November, he gave a presentation at the AARC Congress 2012 in New Orleans about how RTs need to be identifying opportunities to provide value-added care in this challenging environment.

Sounds like your standard fare, right? Opportunities and challenging environment have to be three of the most frequently written words by the HME News team.

As we continued talking, however, I learned that McCoy has a different take on how he thinks these opportunities should play out, at least in the respiratory space.

Let me back up: I hear a lot from HME providers that if only lawmakers and government officials knew and understood the services they provided and the impact those services can have on patient care and outcomes, they wouldn’t be pulling the rug from underneath their feet all the time. 

This is true.

But instead of trying so hard to fight the image that some lawmakers and government officials have about HME providers as drop-shippers, McCoy believes the industry should move on.

He explains:

“There’s going to be a model change. If we still have HME providers in the future, they’re going to be efficient UPS people. If you’re a typical HME provider and you’re still just doing the equipment model, you’re going to have to get real efficient at it. The models that are coming up spin off the service component. You spin off the service component, so it’s not bundled to the equipment, but it works in conjunction with your HME.”

McCoy says he’s putting his money where his mouth is with a new company called Valleyaire Respiratory Services dedicated to providing RT services to hospitals and healthcare systems to help them educate patients, improve outcomes and reduce re-admissions.

“They think hospital RTs are going to solve the problem, but it’s not going to work, because they don’t know the home,” he said. “The clinical issues and needs in the home haven’t been defined. There are no standardized procedures. There’s a wide-open opportunity to provide professional RT services in the home.”

As for reimbursement: McCoy has no problem with swapping Medicare reimbursement for hospital contracts, especially when he knows his services can help those hospitals save big money on patients with congestive heart failure and other chronic conditions.

“It’s the new frontier,” he said. “It has to happen.”