There'll never be another right time

What is needed are the right products, the right programs and the right services
Monday, November 26, 2012

Let’s be frank. It’s easy to look around and feel discouraged by where we stand as an industry. The threat and reality of national competitive bidding continues to loom large, and it is coupled with audits, the PMD demo, re-supply changes and on and on. As a provider, you may feel that you are in this alone and facing insurmountable challenges. 

As a manufacturer, I can promise you that is not the case. We are not standing idly by. This is personal. 

The tumult in the industry impacts your success, as well as ours. We are facing challenges like the medical device tax, commodity and freight price fluctuations, and the growing pains we are all experiencing as we navigate each new test. There is pain to be felt on both sides, and we are all in this together. The industry is changing and we must find ways to change our businesses with it. We, manufacturers and providers, need to take a hard, honest look inside and realize that the only winning approach is to find strategic partners and smart ways to adapt. 

As the largest manufacturer in our industry and the largest lobbyist in Washington,  D.C., we have the benefit of seeing and hearing what is taking place with all the relevant players. This gives us a full view of the issues and what solutions are working. What’s past is prologue, and there is much we can learn from those who found success in Round 1, those who are striving despite these setbacks and those who didn’t survive.

Last year at Medtrade, we introduced a list of challenges and corresponding actions based on what we learned from successful providers in the first nine MSAs, with the advice to “Act Now! Ask Me How.” There is still time to make a change, but the hourglass is emptying. So what can you do right now? Not tomorrow, not six months from now, but right now. It’s time to get down to business. It’s do or die. 

There is no silver bullet to solve the problems we face, and no one-size-fits-all solution to the issues at hand. What is needed are the right products, the right programs and the right services with concrete things that can be done today. We’ve talked a lot about putting together the foundation of your business with a comprehensive plan. With that in place, our focus today is on concrete solutions for the here and now. That sense of urgency isn’t panic; it’s thinking differently and thinking better, and channeling that energy into meaningful action. 

There is no time like the present to put our heads together. Listen to what is happening on the Hill. Learn the latest in the education courses. Speak to fellow providers and manufacturers and finalize the plans you’ve been considering. Let’s talk about ideas and focus on strategies that can be put into place today. The future of health care is home care, and we are home care. Use the resources at your disposal because there will never be another right time.

Carl Will is senior vice president, global commercial operations, at Invacare.