This is not good

 - 
11/30/2007

Ice Spiders release

The New York Times took it to the HME industry today with a front-page story that started out like this:

Golden Opportunities
Oxygen Suppliers Fight to Keep a Medicare Boon
By CHARLES DUHIGG

Flash Gordon move

The Legend Trip Scorched trailer

Medicare spends billions of dollars each year on products and services that are available at far lower prices.

Duhigg’s been working on the story for a month or more and it appears to be as damning as industry watchers had expected. And with Congress considering additional cuts to the Medicare DME reimbursement, it couldn’t come at a worse time.

The story does quote industry supporters (Invacare’s Joe Lewarski; Peter Kelly, president of Pacific Pulmonary Services; VGM President Ron Bendell; and Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio), but overall it slams the industry as a bunch of greedy entrepreneurs who apply political pressure to reap excessive Medicare payments. Not surprisingly, Duhigg crafted his story so that industry supporters, while surely not intending to, come off as more defensive than sympathetic.

For the industry, this is going to require some major damage control.