Coffee klatch in the Heartland


I went for coffee this afternoon at the very funky Cottonwood Canyon Coffee with Beth Cox, Kelly Turner, Lalaina Rabary and Emily van Harken—you'll know them either through People for Quality Care or The VGM Group, which is hosting its Heartland Conference this week.

At least, I hope you know them. They spend a lot of time getting the word out about competitive bidding, etc., to you, the provider, but also to lawmakers, the mainstream press and the beneficiaries. Uh, I also think Emily is responsible for wrangling John Gallagher.

But a big part of our chat today was about how to raise the noise level higher. It ain't easy, especially with social media. There are so many voices clamoring to be heard it's hard to rise above the chatter.

What does it take to get providers more involved? Beneficiaries? No one knows, but I know there are some interesting future projects in the works at P4QC and VGM.

I will say this: It looked like there were a lot of first-timers here at Heartland. That's always a good sign in these trying times. With providers pinching every dollar, they still see something of value in working in the industry. In fact, that's something keynote speaker David Wagner touched on today. (Yes, he's a hairdresser.) A former cancer patient, he gave a shot-out to our friends at Handi Medical Supply in Minnesota, where he hails from.

He told attendees:

"Know that what you do matters. There's negotiating and dramatic change in your industry. We understand that and we appreciate it. Don't take your eye off of what you do even though there is a lot of static in the way."

Another speaker touched on ditching non-value added services. More to come on that topic.

There were also a few providers here that have been to all 13 events. Is it the education? The networking? The hog roast? I don't know, but welcome back.

Needless to say, it's been a busy day here at Heartland and it's not over yet. Although I am hiding in my room during the exhibit hall opening (until I either recharge—both myself and my cell—or someone demands my presence), we have dinner with the capable Carolyn Cole on tap this evening.