Tennessee: ATHOMES names new exec

Friday, January 22, 2016

Beth Bowen got her start composing newsletters for the North Carolina Association for Medical Equipment Services in 1991. Now she’s the executive director of four state associations: NCAMES, the Virginia Association of Durable Medical Equipment (VADMEC), the Florida Alliance of Home Care Services (FAHCS), and, as of January, the Association for Tennessee Home Oxygen & Medical Equipment Services (ATHOMES). HME News recently spoke to Bowen about juggling four sets of issues.

HME News: With four state associations to manage, how do you balance different issues? 

Beth Bowen: All the federal topics are the same, but I think the key is having a strong committee on the ground in each state to handle legislative and Medicaid issues. Also, I’ve been in the industry long enough to know who to go to if I don’t have the answers. 

HME: Have you seen association enrollment going up or down?

Bowen: The numbers are down because of consolidation and closings, but it’s on the upswing. The vendors are the sales force of the association. They’re the ones that go out, see the providers and say, “Hey, you need to go to this meeting” or “Hey, for just a couple hundred bucks you could sit in on this program and learn all this information.”

HME: What should be on providers’ radar in 2016?

Bowen: Making do with less revenue. The providers who prepared for the national roll out and streamlined efficiencies are better able to cope with the expansion of competitive bidding. And many are finding other niches, whether retail or different product lines, that aren’t quite so reliant on Medicaid/Medicare reimbursement. 

HME: Where do you see the HME industry going?

Bowen: The industry will always be part of the healthcare continuum. I think the government is going to realize it can’t keep cutting reimbursement, because if it continues to deny proper reimbursement for products and services, patients will end up in the hospital, costing the government 10 times more.