Lucky 13, data mining and 'unsung heroes'


After sitting down with 13 of the industry’s finest consultants, manufacturers and other stakeholders today, I feel more positive than ever that HME providers have a treasure chest of resources ready and waiting to help them through what’s likely to be a bumpy year.

Bruce Brothis of Allegient Billing and Consulting shared his nine Ds to becoming a successful provider—everything from developing retail to data mining to determining a use for the advanced beneficiary notice (ABN) to document imaging. He thinks providers could improve their businesses with broad strokes. “I used to be reimbursement focused, but now it’s about overall operations,” he said. “It can be a dramatic change.”

Consultant Bill Stelzer shared the key to turning a retail business, like home modifications, into a cash-making machine. Providers, he said, need to realize that marketing to customers is a lot different than marketing to referral sources. With customers, he said, you have to attract their business by communicating and responding to them in the marketplace, and you have to treat them like gold once they walk through your doors. “If you take care of customers, the cash follows,” he said.

Gary Long at Brightree shared an interesting analogy for how some providers—mistakenly—think about their software and what it can do. You may have a Motorola flip phone that works just fine, but what could you do if you had an iPhone? “Don’t assume that the technology you have is the best,” he said. He also shared where he sees software going next, including increased data mining (yes, that’s the second reference of the day), and increased interoperability with new technologies (like telehealth) and different healthcare players (like hospitals).

Other quick hits:

Martin Szmal and Dan Fedor of The Mobility Consultants on the PMD demo—Things are running smoothly in Jurisdictions A, C and D, they said, but there are still some hiccups in Jurisdiction B.

Craig Hittle of Somerset CPAs on the impact of the Round 2 payment amounts on valuations and providers that are looking to sell their business—“The timing is not so great,” he said.

Consultant Louis Feuer on the role of drivers in a provider’s success—“They could be the unsung heroes,” he said. “They’re the only person in the home. They should be part sales rep, part PR agent.”