What can HME learn from HHA?
Ann Howard, the former executive director of the now-defunct American Federation of Home Care Providers, used to write a top 10 column each year that she sent to HHA members. In the beginning, the columns carried titles like "10 Reasons Why Home Health Got Nailed." By the end of her tenure, however, the columns carried titles like "10 Reasons Why We Succeeded." Howard, now the director of federal policy for AAHomecare, knows what the DME industry's going through; the HHA industry, which absorbed a more than 50% reimbursement cut after the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, has been there before--and survived. So what can HMEs learn from HHAs? A few things, Howard says:
* Demonstrate the value of homecare services by putting a face on HME users.
* Have a solution to every problem and make your arguments patient-centered.
* Don't disparage competitors or other types of providers. "Celebrate the services you provide rather than saying, 'I'm not a crook,'" Howard said.