The year in review: Try try again


It’s becoming a tradition, in my editorial for the January issue, to list and comment on the 10 most viewed stories on our website for the previous year. I think readers enjoy this. Or at least one reader does: He laminated my January 2011 editorial and mailed it to me, and it’s now pinned to my cube wall.

You might recall, in that editorial, that I concluded the majority of the most viewed stories in 2010 focused on what was being done to providers (i.e. competitive bidding), instead of what they were doing themselves. Only one story, “Henry Ford drives new retail model for HME,” was about providers taking control of their own destinies. My New Year’s resolution for 2011 was: More Henry Ford, less Medicare. This was a challenge to not only the editorial team here (find more stories about providers doing new and different things) but also to readers (be more interested in providers doing new and different things).

Well, it looks like we all failed that challenge. Big time.

Once again, competitive bidding dominates the most viewed list in 2011: “CMS releases Round 2 bidding information” came in at No. 1 and “Competitive bidding: ‘CMS has turned this industry into a nightmare’” came in at No. 2. The stories in the No. 4, No. 6 and No. 9 spots also have to do with this pain in the industry’s side. That’s 50% of the 10 most viewed stories, the same percentage as in 2010.

There a confluence of factors that allowed competitive bidding to keep a tight grip on the list. In 2010, competitive bidding was certainly front of mind, but for the most part, it was a nightmare not yet the reality, because the program didn’t kick off until Jan. 1, 2011. As I write this in December, the program has been the law of the land in nine areas for going on 12 months. Not only that, CMS in December started the wheels turning for Round 2 of the program, which will cover 10 times as many areas as Round 1.

There’s one more Medicare-related story on the list: “Coming soon: Face-to-face requirement for both Medicare, Medicaid” came in at No. 5.

Rounding out the list were: “Praxair wants to ditch home care” at No. 3, “CareCentrix deals are signs of the times” at No. 7 and “Apria lands ‘multi-state’ contract” at No. 8 and “Electric Mobility’s days are numbered” at No. 10.

One could hardly argue that this last batch of stories is about providers doing new and different things, with maybe the exception of “Apria lands ‘multi-state’ contract,” but while that was good news for Apria, it may not be good news for dozens of other providers. Coincidently, “Praxair wants to ditch home care” also has to do with Apria doing new and different things, because the provider ended up buying that homecare business.

My resolution for 2012? Call me Pollyanna, but it’s the same as last year.

Yes, resolutions are hard to stick to, especially if they involve diets (in this case, from Medicare) and change (in this case, new and different things), but I’m hoping we can give it another whirl.

Liz Beaulieu