Break it down: Medicare provider vs. Internet provider


This landed in my e-mail inbox yesterday and, needless to say, my curiosity is piqued:

Dear Liz,

Would it be helpful if a DME company prepared a line item breakdown of all costs, time, duties, services, legal responsibilities, licensing, and 7 year audit risks associated with providing a power wheelchair to a Medicare beneficiary?

I’m talking about a table worksheet to compare a Medicare supplier to an Internet seller, listing a cost breakdown for everything involved  from intake/gathering documentation/interpreting medical necessity; to delivery/training/setup; to performing repairs during warranty period, compared to an Internet seller who’s only responsibility is to collect payment upfront and ship the product.

Would something like that open eyes and help HR3790?

I just left a voice mail message with the author of this e-mail. Does he have such a worksheet? The industry has compiled data before, notably with help from the University of Rochester's Simon Graduate School of Business. But if my memory serves me right (and I've given Don Clayback a call in case it doesn't), it focused on the profitability (or lack thereof) of complex rehab providers and the services they planned to eliminate due to cuts.

This would be a little different.

And even though the industry seems to be moving away from data and more toward human interest ("putting a face" on issues, if you will), I'd still be interested in seeing such a worksheet.

It might be good for a provider to have such a worksheet in his or her briefcase the next time he or she stops by a congressman's office, not necessarily to talk about H.R. 3790 but definitely to talk about the need to create a separate benefit for complex rehab. No offense intended, but I've seen some of the material or "take-homes" that providers go to these meetings with and I doubt they're anything any congressman or his or her aides will look at for more than a few minutes. Pages and pages of words.

But what about a one-page Excel worksheet that concludes: "Total time a Medicare provider spends providing a wheelchair: 20 hours; total time an Internet provider spends providing a wheelchair: 30 minutes? It's short; it's visual. It gets to the point.

I'll keep you posted.

Liz Beaulieu