Stop the ranting

Friday, June 30, 2006

In May, Lincare agreed to pay the OIG $10 million to settle kickback charges without admitting any wrongdoing. When news of this got out, more than a few providers said the national had it coming. Bashing Lincare has been a pasttime of independent HME providers for years. It's almost as if by being big and successful, Lincare has done something wrong. On the rehab side, providers go to great lengths to demonize The Scooter Store, another very large, very successful company.
This behavior isn't reserved only for the Lincares of the world. Providers regularly bash each other. So and so, they say, is doing this, that and the other thing and it is not right! It can get pretty ugly and, for the most part, the allegations are undocumented. That's why, I suppose, these complainers call and ask HME News to "investigate."
I often wonder:
Are the gripes legitimate or sour grapes brought on by the thought of someone else's success? And why does it seem that very successful independent providers--those who belong to AAHomecare and state associations, in my experience--don't seem to have time to engage in all this ranting against the competition? Maybe they're too busy running their own businesses and fighting for the industry's interests.
I talked to a provider earlier this year who lamented all this bashing. It makes the industry look bad. Competitors in other industries don't do this, he said. Let's stop.
Sounds like good advice.
If you have a problem with a competitor, report him to the appropriate authorities. Don't go badmouthing him to a referral source; that makes you both look bad--and by association, the industry
I don't know if Lincare's guilty or not. Settling for $10 million doesn't look good. That said, it wouldn't be the first time the government got overly aggressive with an HME provider.