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'Pay attention to the details,' says Doug Coleman

'Pay attention to the details,' says Doug Coleman He’s this year’s AAHomecare/Mal Mixon Legislative Advocate

LOVELAND, Colo. - Doug Coleman opened Major Medical Supply in 2000, despite seeing the writing on the wall with Medicare's competitive bidding program.

Coleman married into the HME industry in 1988, when his new father-in-law took him into the company business. That company sold in 1994, but he returned to the HME industry with Major Medical Supply six years later.

“As I saw the bid issues starting, I knew that it was going to lead to problems and challenges,” said Coleman, CEO, who also serves as president of the Colorado Association of Medical Equipment Services. “Although, I didn't think they'd be nearly as bad as they are.”

Earlier this year, Coleman worked with AAHomecare to launch the Grassroots Accountability Project to establish a network of HME advocates to cover all 535 federal offices. His work on the project was a big reason why he received this year's AAHomecare/Mal Mixon Legislative Advocate Award during the association's recent legislative conference.

HME News: What made you get involved in industry advocacy?

Doug Coleman: We are one of the few industries that has little influence on what we get paid. Whether it's Medicare, competitive bidding, Tricare, workers' compensation and all the private insurances, they usually use Medicare as their baseline for DME. If we can achieve even a modest improvement in Medicare pricing, it's going to parlay into all better pricing for all of the payers.

HME: It seems like it is always the same people who stay active on the issues. What would you say to the folks on the sidelines?

Coleman: It's much easier than people think. It doesn't take much time and effort to educate our elected officials on what we do. Most of them will make time to visit your location so they can learn first-hand. I've found most to be good people who care deeply about how things are run and want to improve things.

HME: What do you find rewarding about being a provider?

Coleman: Our mission statement is “We love helping people.” Its extremely rewarding to be able to help patients either live out their twilight years in their preferred location, or whether it's a life changer like vent kids who in the past would have died or been institutionalized now able to get as a good a life as possible. If we do a good job of that, and pay attention to the other details, we'll be successful.


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