What do you think? Does the 80/20 rule hold true for HME providers?

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05/28/2010

I've traveled more miles and talked face-to-face to more HME providers over the past three weeks than the previous four months of 2010 combined. First at Medtrade spring; then at the annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Association of Medical Equipment Suppliers (PAMS); and last week at the annual meeting of the New England Medical Equipment Dealers Association (NEMED), right here in my hometown of Portland, Maine.

It was a great few weeks. With the Memorial Day weekend staring us in the face, I'm not going to go on too long, but there is one thing I want to run past you.

I think pound-for-pound, when it comes to combining business smarts with clinical expertise, no healthcare provider does it better than a good HME. With all the reimbursement cuts the industry has endured over the years, what choice have providers had but to up their game?

Of course, I may be a tad naive on this point. When I brought this up during a dinner at Medtrade Spring, one of my dinner guests said that as an editor at HME News, I live in a kind of ivory tower. In reporting the news, he said, HME News editors talk to the best of the best. He estimated that there are far more poorly run HME companies than stellar performers.

That got me thinking. Maybe it's the 80-20 rule. Maybe 20% of HME providers are really good, and 80% are fair or worse.

My dinner companion was right on one point. When it comes to providers, HME News does talk to the best of the best, and we've developed these contacts by trial and error over the years. There's really no point in us talking to lousy providers. They generally don't have much to add when we're working on a story. If they have anything worth listening to, it's how not to run a business.

Whatever. All I know is that when it comes to HME providers, the best of the best are very good. On that point, I'm sticking to my guns.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend.

Mike Moran