An ad does not an article make
We like to use the phrase “separation of church and state” to describe the relations between the sales and editorial teams here at HME News.
This means that the editorial team goes about writing stories—including stories about advertisers—without being influenced by the sales team. If Jo-Ellen Reed, our sales rep for the West coast, says, “Liz, you can’t write that story about ABC Manufacturer, because it will make them upset and make them possibly pull their advertising,” I don’t have to listen to her. If she says, “Liz, you have to write a story about ABC Manufacturer because they just bought an ad,” I really don’t have to listen to her. (If anyone knows Jo-Ellen, by the way, they know this never happens.)
Conversely, the phrase also means the sales team doesn’t have to consult the editorial team about the content of its ads.
I mention all of this because of an ad that appeared on p. 24 of the July issue. In the ad, 3B Medical argues that there’s a duopoly in the sleep market that allows two manufacturers to keep prices unnecessarily high.
As you can imagine, this has raised an eyebrow or two.
I just want to make clear that this is an ad paid for by 3B Medical, not an article written by the editorial team at HME News. I’ve seen and heard the two terms interchanged freely. The ad even refers to itself as an article, which gives me serious heartburn, but there’s nothing I can do about that. (See third paragraph above.)
I will say, though, that the ad (not article) raises some interesting questions about cost in a post-competitive bidding world:
#1 How much does it cost manufacturers to produce products?
#2 How much should it cost HME providers to buy them?
#3 How much should it cost Medicare to pay for them?
With 45% of Medicare reimbursement now on the cutting room floor, these are all areas that are up for discussion, as far as I’m concerned, and until now, the bulk of the discussions have focused on #2 and #3.
That may be changing.