Clutches and Costco


I’ve been working on a couple of stories this week that have required me to make a dozen or so calls to providers. Since I cover mostly the vendors in the industry, that’s usually Theresa and Elizabeth’s domain.

These are a few things that I heard that, while they didn’t quite fit into any of the stories I’m working on, resonated with me for one reason or another.

From Steve Nelson, who’s in a Round 1 bid area in Florida:

We’re forging ahead with cash customers. CMS in their wisdom has forgotten all about the patient. The patient is not getting served. We’re getting phone calls from areas that we used to take care of from patients needing help. It’s a crying shame. CMS is so blind to what they’re doing.
A lot of people are going cash because they’re tired of the game.

I’ve spoken to a lot of physicians and they’re going to get out. They don’t like what’s going on. They don’t like the audits. I said, ‘Welcome to the club.’

From Daryl Bowman, who’s in a Round 2 area in California:

I was offered support surfaces only. I had bid for beds and some other stuff. How can I do support surfaces but not beds? It’s like doing the clutches, but not the cars. I didn’t accept it.
Two years ago, Medicare was 70% of my revenue. I started moving that to retail and Medicare Advantage. Over the past two years, I’ve decreased it to below 50%. Still, I’m going to take a 40% hit on revenue. With me, that’s a lot. Because we’re a small company, we’ve downsized to only two employees. At my height, I had five.

For retail, we have a Costco approach. We have a warehouse set up that you can walk in and the shelving is set up as retail. A person can come in and browse, but we’re still meeting the customer one on one. We sell a lot of wound care and incontinence retail.