Uninformed providers

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

I just read your HME News editorial (Nov. 2004). It appears to me that the 62% that would vote for Bush are totally uninformed HME providers. It will be interesting to see how many of those providers are left after another four years of Bush. [The] Bush [Administration] is not good for the HME industry. It is not good for America on all the issues.

Hopefully, those Bush HME providers will read your paper before the election. The 2004 Election article shows how flippant the Bush administration is and how they pass legislation in the middle of the night. That is not good for America.

On a personal note, I cannot understand anyone’s thinking that supports this administration. I see we can expect another $70 billion dollars for Iraq after the election. This just does not make sense.

-  Mitch Evenson
Nix my subscription
I wish to cancel my subscription. The articles “Bush or Kerry?” and “Election 2004” and your editorial were designed to give the Kerry ticket pages of free endorsements. Your presentation of the “facts” sounded like something out of the Kerry playbook. I strenuously disagree with this type of “editorial” abuse, especially in an industry newspaper. I will send cancellations for the remainder of our staff directly to that department.

- Bob Walter
Misguided cartoon
To say that I was deeply disappointed in HME News for running [the cartoon in October] is a gross understatement. The hurricanes that have hit Florida this year have been devastating storms not only to the unfortunate areas of landfall, but for the entire state. Hurricanes are no laughing matter, nor should they be used as fodder for your amusement. Your misguided editorial cartoon is just as guilty as CMS in labeling all south-Florida providers as fraudulent; you are perpetuating the automatic assumption that they’re all unethical just because they are where they are. HME News has, by running that cartoon, gratuitously - and publicly - insulted and demeaned many people who deserve better from your publication. An apology is definitely in order, and I certainly hope that you’ll offer it as publicly as you’ve wounded.

- Heather E. Allan is executive director of FAMES

While I am a huge fan of editorial cartoons I found the one you printed [in October] to be demeaning to the provider community in South Florida. It ignores the valiant efforts that many providers undertake to service their patients during our many hurricanes and it gives credence to those who pretend that fraud is strictly an ethnic or geographic phenomenon. No one is more aware than I am of the magnitude of fraud and abuse that is prevalent throughout the industry. But it is not a South Florida phenomenon. The Rotech scandal was not in South Florida, Wheeler Dealer was not in South Florida and neither were the scandals at some of the major nationals.

-  Javier Talamo is an attorney at Kravitz & Talamo in Hialeah, Fla.
Kerry, not Bush
HME News did an excellent job in the November issue by attempting to get from the Kerry and Bush campaigns specific answers to questions of great interest to our industry. The current administration with its brief, unspecific response just reinforces my opinion that they do not have the level of interest, foresight or resolve to do what is right and just for the citizens of our country, relative to home healthcare. My brief encounter with John Kerry 1 1/2 years ago at a hotel in Boston showed a man who was deeply committed to the preservation of patient choice and patient access to quality home healthcare. Mr. Kerry was acutely aware of competitive bidding, as well as the impending FEHPB cuts and the negative impact it would have on beneficiaries and small businesses. He actually mentioned the name of a large independent company that is located roughly two miles from his home on Beacon Hill.

Our industry leaders need to realize that the Bush administration has one goal in mind when it comes to Medicare - privatization. It really does not come as much of a surprise to me when I see the 62% to 38% split in favor of the incumbent amongst likely voters in our industry. If we do not smarten up fast, we will see the 2004 and 2005 FEHBP cuts go through, competitive bidding installed and, ultimately, the privatization of Medicare. The ending result will be hundreds of small providers going out of business and 10-15 nationals providing 80% of the home healthcare in our country.

- Michael McDonald is president of Clinical 1 Home Medical in Weymouth, Mass.