I’ve had a hard time blogging for a few weeks. It’s not because of the lack of news; it’s because of the glut of news. I can’t focus on one topic long enough to churn out a blog. So here are two thoughts that have been buzzing in my head but haven’t found a home here yet.
HOMES: Home Medical Equipment and Services Association of New England. This is the new name for NEMED. It’s an appropriate name for a number of reasons. It emphasizes home and services, and it doesn’t include the word dealer. When I was at the Heartland Conference earlier this month, I asked a few people, wouldn’t it be a good idea if all the state/regional associations picked up this name, replacing the “of New England” with their state or region? This is how many associations operate, right? You have the ALS Association, for example, and you have dozens of chapters: Alabama, Golden West (greater Los Angeles), Evergreen (Washington state) and on and on. I think state/regional associations should remain completely autonomous in their administration, but I think the continuity in names would make them look bigger and more powerful, especially to the public and lawmakers. I mean, what would be a bigger sign of unity? (I have to be honest: It would also help us out here at HME News. Do you know how hard it is to keep straight all the state/regional association names? Do you know how many times Managing Editor Theresa Flaherty has written Pennsylvania Association of Medical Services, instead of Pennsylvania Association of Medical Suppliers?)
Hotlines: I got a call from a gentleman recently who wanted to know who he should contact about his wife’s wheelchair, which she received from The Scooter Store, with all the changes that go into effect July 1. I don’t think there was enough time in the day to fill him in on everything going on with 1.) The Scooter Store and 2.) competitive bidding. The gentleman said he had been trying to contact The Scooter Store, but he couldn’t get anywhere outside of an automated message. He found HME News after a few Google searches. “Medicare pays for the wheelchair each month and she needs it; what am I going to do?” he asked. I confirmed that he was in a bid area, and I told him that he needed to go to medicare.gov to find a contract supplier in his area for more information. I also gave him a hotline number to log complaints about competitive bidding. When Medicare beneficiaries are calling HME News for information, it’s not a good sign.