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AAH marries rehab and retail

AAH marries rehab and retail ‘It’s time to get serious’ about cash, says provider Nancy Froslie

WASHINGTON - As changes in federal and state reimbursement structures continue to squeeze their revenue streams, complex rehab and mobility providers of all shapes and sizes are increasingly trying to diversify their product lines and customer profiles.

To support those efforts, AAHomecare recently formed a new Retail Work Group within its Complex Rehab & Mobility Council,with the goal of helping providers transition into new, cash-based markets, even as they work to ensure that traditional reimbursement streams remain steady.

“We're very supportive of industry efforts to get regulatory reform,” said Ashley Plauche, manager of government affairs of AAHomecare.  “At the same time, we want to be sensitive to what members need and offer them opportunities to grow new sources of income.”

To that end, Plauche said the new work group will be helping providers understand where their revenue currently comes from and where it could come from moving forward.

“What kind of target market do I currently have?” is among the questions she said providers should be asking.  “What do I have to do to reach out? Retail is a different mindset from what many providers are used to.”

For Nancy Froslie, the new work group's chairwoman and rehab manager at Sanford Healthcare Accessories, the goal is not to move providers away from traditional reimbursement, but to help them supplement in the face of continuing cuts.

“Providers are looking for information,” she said. “Information about sales strategies, new products, showroom layout, what works and what's not working.”

Most providers have been dabbling in the cash retail market for some time, Froslie noted, “but with the cuts it's time to jump in with both feet. It's time to get serious, and our goal is to help providers do just that.”

As for how the new work group plans to get out the word, Plauche said they've already talked about webinars and are developing a panel discussion for Medtrade in the fall.


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