What's the word? Pragmatic.


Merriam-Webster chose "pragmatic" as its 2011 word of the year. For those not in the know, or in possession of a dictionary, the word is defined as "concerned with facts or actual events; practical."

That seems like a good word for the HME industry to embrace in 2012. There's lots of facts—many of them painful—that providers will need to embrace like they have never embraced them before. The biggest (barring a Christmas or political miracle) is that Round 2 of competitive bidding is, ahem, here. For providers across the country who kept saying "we hope it goes away," it didn't.

The pragmatic thing to do here, and I know many of you have begun, is to begin the process of registering to bid. And then continue to take the pragmatic next steps in the process of preparing to submit your bid. That bidding window opens sooner than you think.

With the economy continuing to be a downer, it's also important to be pragmatic about business practices. I know this is often easier said then done, especially when it comes to patient care, but if you aren't making money on a product, you aren't making  money. Cut your losses. If you aren't getting paid, whether it be a patient or payer, stop providing them with free stuff. Other providers have done it and they are still standing. Businesses in other industries would never do it all. It's not ... practical. Nor is it profitable.

And finally, I hope there's a little pragmatist in us all when it comes to daily life. To paraphrase the famous saying, there's things you can change and things you can't change, and you'll be much happier if you understand the difference between the two.

Theresa Flaherty