Ten years on
Ten years ago this month, HME News launched its first issue. It was a remarkable month. Homedco and Abbey merged to form Apria. Bill Coughlan took the helm as CEO of NAMES. K Mart was testing the waters of HME, and Invacare was making noise about its largest deal ever -- a $25 million contract to supply Homedco with oxygen concentrators.
We've had a great ride over the past 10 years. Some real highs, and some lows, too. I can't recall how many times over the past 10 years, I've picked up the phone to someone at the top of his lungs, dropping F-bombs about our coverage of a given issue. Once, an irate reader phoned to say he was going to get a gun, hunt me down and kill me. That was interesting.
We've ridden herd on some remarkable stories. No arc has been as high-flying as the K0011 power wheelchair, which soared from the mid-90s until a shady crew in Houston tarnished the business in 2003. Competitive bidding reared its head with the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. We tailed it through Polk County and San Antonio, caught up with it again in the MMA and are chasing it today as the controversial reimbursement mechanism snakes its way toward 10 of the largest MSA in 2007.
We said hello to the HME superstores in the mid 1990s, and goodbye before the millennium was out. The roll call of those who've moved out of the industry over the last 10 years is too long to detail comprehensively here. But take, for example, guys whose names begin with the letter D: Dick Chandler. Don Kirson. David Wine. David Williams. David Miller. Wow.
Who knows what the next 10 years will bring? One thing is certain: there'll be lots to write about. And I'll bet good money some editor of HME News will be writing a 20-year retrospective.