Jerry Jones tells HME providers to "open up your eyes"

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01/11/2010

Apria’s former CEO Jerry Jones (remember him?) offered some words of wisdom for HME providers during a telephone conversation I had with him recently.

“HME companies need to understand that their world is not the only one that is going to be changing,” said Jones, who is now the chairman of LifeCare, a $70 million, 18-branch HME in Southern California. “Everyone else in the healthcare system’s world is going to change fairly dramatically, and they are going to have needs that maybe they haven’t had in the past. HMEs have got to figure out how to tap into them.”

Specifically, providers who plan to survive well into the future must get creative. For example, Jones said, they could:

-   Develop new referral sources. These could include senior centers, outpatient surgery centers, dialysis centers and adult day care.

-   Determine what seniors need and then fill those needs. For example, taxis don't always cut it. Some seniors need sedan car services to get to and from appointments. They also need help with activities of daily living such as shopping and moving furniture.

-   Partner with pharmacies to help seniors manage their medication.

-   Help seniors travel by taking them to the airport, meeting their planes, picking up their luggage.

-   Anticipate problems related to competitive bidding and provide solutions. This could mean subcontracting with winners to provide equipment maintenance, 24-hour service response and clinical services.

In short, Jones said: “Figure out what you are good at and open up your eyes. You’ve got clinical support. You have distribution. You have the ability to bill third parties. There are people beside homecare patients who need those services.”

— Mike Moran