Women's health: It's essential

Saturday, February 28, 2009

CHARLESTON, S.C.--Accreditation and reduced reimbursement weigh on women’s health providers. But this year’s Focus on the Future Conference aims to lighten their load.

The ninth annual event, hosted by Essentially Women, a buying group, takes place March 30-April 2 in Charleston, S.C. It features 60 exhibitors, networking events, educational sessions and specialty product training. More than ever, providers are seeking advice, said Cindy Ciardo, manager of vendor services for Essentially Women.

“There’s more hassle, more paperwork and more expense,” she said. “Most women’s health providers are small businesses, with only a few people doing everything from ordering product to fittings, to billing and collections. There isn’t enough time in the day to keep up with all the mandates.”

All those costs make it difficult to compete with Internet providers on cash items. The economy isn’t helping, said Ciardo.

“Customers are not willing to spend more than they have to,” she said. “They are fulfilling their needs, but forgoing their wants and it’s the ‘wants’ that stimulate our cash sales.”

At the conference, consultant Andrea Stark will present “The Medicare Program and Your Business” to discuss how recent and upcoming changes in Medicare regulations will impact providers’ day-to-day operations; the new quality standards; and accreditation requirements.