What were you doing at 2 p.m.?


This afternoon, I was one of 223 listeners to the Open Door Forum.

About a dozen listeners asked questions during the Q&A portion of the forum and only  two of those listeners were HME providers: Victor Lopez with Hartman Brothers and Kimberlie Rogers-Bowers with Apria. (If you want to find out their questions and CMS's answers, go here.)

The forum, from start to finish, lasted little more than half  an hour.

This makes me mad. Well, maybe mad is too strong a word. This makes me sad.

To me, the Q&A portions of these Open Door Forums seem like a great opportunity for HME providers to, essentially, grill CMS officials on anything they want to grill them about. Rogers-Bowers asked CMS officials if they were ready to release the list of winning bidders in September. That was a good question, one that I know is on the minds of many in the industry. But aren't there at least a handful of other things providers could be asking about competitive bidding? What about audits? A provider e-mailed me just the other day asking, "Is there any limit on how far back CMS can recoup a paid claim?" What about PECOS?

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking: We can ask CMS officials all the questions we want; it doesn't mean we'll get answers.

You're right. More often than not, listeners don't get answers. They're told to call or e-mail a CMS official after the forum. If they do get an answer, it's confusing. (Need I remind you of the whole Jim Bossenmeyer-PECOS debacle?)

But here's what listeners do get: They get to make it known to CMS officials that they're confused and that they don't have all the information they need to run a ship shape. They get to  make it known that they're not happy.

If you ask me, that's worth an hour or two of my time every few weeks.

Liz Beaulieu


Regarding low HME participation on these CMS Open Door Forums, more and more it seems that these seminars are DME 101 and for the real tough questions, the speakers can give no immediate answers for. I used to listen in on each and every one of these forums but it seems that they are not answering the real questions the industry wants to hear.