Skip to Content

Homecare Champion Steve Ackerman: ‘Everyone should feel responsible’

Homecare Champion Steve Ackerman: ‘Everyone should feel responsible’

SILVER SPRING, Md. – Early in his HME career, Steve Ackerman used to jump in his car with a “bag of claims” to take to the fiscal intermediary for Medicare and “go argue with them.” 

“That was the appeals process at that point,” said Ackerman, president and CEO of Spectrum Medical, who was named the 2021 Van Miller Homecare Champion in October for his advocacy work. “It’s a good example of how the information on early fee for service and LCDs was anybody’s best guess.” 

Ackerman spoke with HME News about how everyone in the industry must invest time and money into advocating for what’s theirs – or they’re going to get handed their lunch. 

HME News: You’ve been in the industry since 1981. Have you seen a lot of changes over the years? 

Steve Ackerman: The cyclical nature of problems continues to amaze me – the core problem being people at home, in rehab or dying, for lack of a more delicate term, hasn’t changed a bit in almost 40 years. The equipment has gotten better, the delivery modalities have gotten better and the ability to do things at home are better, but reimbursement continues to be the challenge. It’s like whack-a-mole: You get one thing under control, then another flares up. 

HME: Is that why it is so important to get involved in advocating for the industry? 

Ackerman: This is how you get paid and if you are not going to speak up and take time to be part of the message, it’s not going to happen. Everybody should feel responsible for spending time or dollars not only on memberships, but also on PAC money and other things you have to do to get things done. It’s complicated when dealing with the federal government. If you sit around and put your head in the sand, you are going to get handed your lunch. 

HME: Do you feel the industry has become more cohesive with its messaging? 

Ackerman: Our largest victory is that we are acting as an industry right now, not as a bunch of companies. In the last five years, I’ve spent time with (Apria’s) Bill Guidetti. Our problems are the same, but I have a problem in one office, and he has the problem in 300-plus offices. Whether it’s complex rehab or respiratory, we have made sure we are channeling the messages as one group. We lock arms and move forward as an industry. 

HME: What does earning this recognition mean for you? 

Ackerman: It completely took me by surprise and I am very honored at the thought of being selected from an outstanding group of people that have worked hard for the industry. Van Miller has been a hero of mine from the beginning and to receive an award with his name attached to it is an honor.


To comment on this post, please log in to your account or set up an account now.