Maybe we're missing the bigger picture, Mike

 - 
03/16/2010

So Deutsche Bank is looking for some data on HME and competitive bidding. So what? Happens all the time in industries across the world. In fact, HME News, under Executive Director Mike Moran, also collects data. And from the phone calls we regularly get asking about our data, HME providers love this stuff.

But I am hardly surprised that once again HME providers are up in arms about making data available (when they even have data. Remember the October HME NewsPoll? The one in which nearly three quarters of providers couldn't put a dollar value on the services they provide Medicare beneficiaries).

When the HME industry can't cough up cold hard data about how hard Medicare is hitting them because it doesn't consider associated costs, well, then, small wonder CMS don't listen.

Mike, in his blog "Deutsch Bank's sniffing around" quotes a provider, who received the bank's survey as "asking for some very private information considering that round 2 is nearing. Needless to say, I’m not completing it.”

Let's see: It is indeed asking for your recent bid amounts. I'm sure that's closely guarded information,  It wants stuff like company location and number of patients. Etc, etc. etc. I ask these questions all the time (except for the one on bid amounts; I know better).

The National Home Infusion Association has the right idea with its new industry survey, which rolled out in January. As the association's Nancy Kramer told me: "Today we cannot answer how many patients in the United States receive home infusion therapy," she said. "We should know that answer. We should be able to leverage that when legislative and reimbursement decisions are made."

So, while the industry, and Mike, might just not like the intrusion of an outsider poking around providers, I say maybe it's time to look at the bigger culture of fear and secrecy that run rampant in the HME sector.

Want more reimbursement for your services? Show CMS and lawmakers what it costs. Transparency works both ways.

Theresa Flaherty