The struggle is real

 - 
10/13/2016

Well, Theresa and Tracy, we had a good run.

Before now, we’ve been basking in the glow of having three recent HME Newspolls with more than 100 respondents.

In the August issue, our readers had plenty to say about whether or not they’ve stopped taking assignment on certain products this year (148 respondents); in the September issue, they had plenty to say about how Medicare pricing has impacted Medicaid and third-party payer pricing in their states (114 respondents); and in the October issue, they had even more to say about who will be their pick for president next month (303 respondents).

Before these polls, it’s been a struggle. Take our July issue, when we asked about the impact of a new overtime rule on providers’ businesses. That poll had 53 respondents. In the June issue, we asked about a new overpayments rule. That poll had 24 respondents.

I concede that polls about Medicare assignment, piggyback pricing and the presidential election are slightly more sexy than polls about new overtime and overpayments rules, but we’re shooting for some diversity over here.

For our November issue, which we’re kicking out the door this week, we thought it would be a good idea to have a special Medtrade-themed poll, with the rationale that we could use the responses to said poll for a story for the Show Dailies that we’ll be doing onsite at the show. Since the goal for Medtrade this year is “Collaborate, Cultivate and Innovate,” we settled on asking providers about how they have collaborated, cultivated or innovated in their businesses this year.

Can you hear that? That’s the sound of a pin dropping.

Twenty-four hours after we sent the poll out—which is when we get the bulk of our responses—we’ve heard from eight providers. Eight!

Dejected, I took to twitter yesterday afternoon to say: “Based on the # of respondents to our poll so far, there’s not much innovation going on in the HME industry.”

I thought I might rile some folks into action—nope.

I did hear back from Tyler Riddle, a provider in Georgia. He tweeted: “@hmeliz folks just hanging on.”

There is that. One of the eight respondents to the poll wrote in: “For the first time, four local businesses sat down together and commiserated about the state of the industry. That’s the closest we’ve gotten to collaboration.”

There’s no doubt that, as a recent guest blogger said, “Medicare is the worst I’ve seen it,” but I prefer to think that the dearth of responses means providers are too busy collaborating, cultivating and innovating to be pestered by me, Theresa and Tracy and our little poll.