Seven-year itch


This week marks seven years since I joined the staff at HME News. Seven years since I had to put on work clothes and go through two round robins of interviews, take writing and editing tests, and report an actual story (as I recall, it was about some newfangled website or some such).

Seven years since I first asked the question: What the heck have I done? And what the heck is HME anyway?

Fast forward to today and I know more about HME and its issues than I ever thought possible. Just for fun, I perused the front page of the October 2005 issue, which clocked in at a massive 116 pages, the first I had a hand in.

The headlines reveal that, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

"HME industry contemplates Katrina's long-term impact"

Yup. A disaster story and only one in a long line of natural disasters that seem to increase every year. Our most recent: A story in our September issue about provider response to raging wildfires out West.

"Medicare rocks rehab with change"

Looks like CMS replaced CMNs for power chairs and scooters with prescriptions and released an LCD that raised questions on in-home use.

"Gas hikes hit vendors"

Well, gas prices certainly haven't gone down, have they?

"Meds: Dispensing fee 'likely' to drop"

Remember when providers were paid $57 per month per patient? Yeah, me neither, but it's true. These days, the fee is lower, and reimbursement for the drugs has largely stablized, under ASP methodolgy

And finally, there was a Medtrade booth profile: "Invacare = Innovation"

The booth size at the time was an astounding 15,030 square feet. Booth sizes are much smaller these days—for everyone—but Invacare still is one of the top booths we will profile again this year.

Tune in next week for coverage about another anniversay.

Theresa Flaherty