Lead above the death line and other words of wisdom, Part 2


Last week, I shared the first installment of words of wisdom from this year’s speakers at the HME News Business Summit. (Refresher: I asked them that they think HME providers should be exploring, and what risks they should be taking.) Here’s the second.

Help physicians help patients

“It really is all about outcomes and patient-centered care at this point. Hospitals and payers want to know that you can make a difference in their patient/member’s experience and well-being, which ultimately should help to reduce costs. Providing physicians with their patient’s report helps to identify potential risks for readmissions, and builds creditability and trust within the healthcare team.”

Tammy Zelenko, AdvaCare Home Services

Lead above the death line

More from Zelenko: “You know how the saying goes: The greater the risk, the greater the return. The industry is facing the perfect storm with the extension of competitive bidding into rural areas, the creation of ACOs and the expansion of hospital-owned networks, the reductions in reimbursement hitting us from all the payers, and more. We are facing a great deal of uncertainty. I think we need to stay the course and manage our finances extremely well. I am reading a book by Jim Collins, “Great by Choice,” and one of the chapters is called “Leading Above the Death Line.” He describes three primary categories of risk: (1) death line risk, (2) asymmetric risk, and (3) uncontrollable risk. Death line risks are those that could kill or severely damage your organization. Asymmetric risks are those for which the potential downside is much bigger than the potential upside. Uncontrollable risks are those that expose the organization to forces and events that it has little ability to manage or control. So, if you are considering a new business line, product line or opportunity, take the time to determine if the decision that you make will lead you above the death line.”

Be OK with uncomfortable

“I believe that providers should do something out of their comfort zone at least once a quarter. Maybe it’s bringing in a new product line along with a plan to promote it and find that new niche that will set you apart from your competition. How about calling on a referral that is completely unrelated to your core business to maybe find a need that nobody is providing adequately in your market? In today’s HME arena the companies that are willing to put themselves in new uncomfortable positions are the ones who are ahead of the pack.”

Jim Greatorex, The VGM Group

Which path are you on?

“As an HME provider, when your products become more of a commodity item than the provision of comprehensive clinical outcomes, it is important to decide what growth pathway you wish to pursue. If you choose to pursue growth of commodity items, the large retailers, including Internet fulfillment houses ie: Amazon, will always have the upper hand on delivery to the masses. Their incredible volume demands focus on mass delivery, which puts less focus on traditional margins HME providers historically enjoyed. So, if you want to be primarily in the delivery business and if you run an efficient operation, the demand will certainly feed scaling your operations. On the other hand, if you have traditionally been inspired, motivated and expert at the clinical aspects of HME, you have other options to consider. As you have seen big retailers avoid too much clinical exposure, this is your opportunity to develop your clinical business model (which can include HME commodity items in a larger bundle of services) to blaze the trail of increased sales and profitability.”

Jonathan Sadock, Paragon Ventures

Know your pain threshold

Retail locations need to maximize cash sales. Looking for non-coded items and providing personal service/up-selling/up-caring—you want to provide a one-on-one exceptional experience that customers cannot get anywhere else. In addition, up-selling and/or up-caring should be part of every customer interaction. Finally, pain management is something we would like to get into more. Did you know that 28% of adults 40 years and older take cholesterol fighting medication and 1 million people are on cholesterol medication and suffer debilitating muscle pain. Expanding our pain management line is something we would like to expand into.

Coleen Zinda, Home Care Medical