Outcry needs to go viral


At a time when every last dollar is being scrutinized in Washington, CMS is slashing and burning an industry that saves millions by keeping people out of hospitals and nursing homes. It makes absolutely no sense. 

But I don’t need to tell you that. The HME industry is well aware of the increasingly challenging environment you guys are trying to provide services in—unrelenting audits, decreasing reimbursements, and now these massive cuts under Round 2 of competitive bidding.

Who doesn’t know? Beneficiaries. Lawmakers. People outside the industry. How can the industry expect enough squeaky wheels to actually effect change, when so many people don’t even really understand what home medical equipment is? (How many times and ways have I tried to explain my job to friends and relatives? How many have you?)

The Internet is a great place to spread ideas from one or a few people all over the country like wildfire. One of the best ways to spread information seems to be through viral videos. These are videos people hear about on morning news show or spot online while surfing YouTube at lunch. They get massive amounts of views, comedians include them in monologues or SNL skits and they become part of the pop culture lexicon.

Could the HME industry come up with something like “Friday,” “Gangnam Style” or even this silly video about banana phones that’s racked up almost 4 million views? (Warning, you can’t unhear the Banana Phone song, so listen at your own risk.)

You may say these videos are silly, pop culture things that are easy to make popular, but what about that KONY 2012 video that hit last year? Regardless of the fallout and anyone’s feelings about it, it racked up over 100 million views, despite having a decidedly un-silly topic.

Different parts of the industry are trying to harness the viral video’s power—The complex rehab video at www.access2crt.org has made some good headway, and Theresa just wrote about a specialty provider movement to get the word out about O&P access through videos at Speak4OandP.com.

Whether it’s through a catchy song, humor, or a powerful message, the story we all know about HME and its future needs to get out.