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The ‘struggle’ is real: Where does HME belong in value-based care? 

The ‘struggle’ is real: Where does HME belong in value-based care?  ‘We look at it as an opportunity to have a conversation with payers’ 

Allen HuntDALLAS – Value-based care is a term that has been tossed around in health care for a while now, yet it’s still in the “early stages,” especially when it comes to the role of HME providers, said panelists during a session at Medtrade on Tuesday. 

“You’re not the only ones struggling to define this,” said Allen Hunt, president of Hart Home Medical Equipment, a health-system owned, full-line HME provider based in Grand Blanc, Mich. “Health systems are still trying to figure this out, as well. Our health systems are looking at us as a utility – how can you help us meet our value-based care needs? We’re an important piece of the puzzle, but we’re all still trying to figure out where we belong.” 

Hunt was joined on the panel by Rhonda Davis, vice president of payer relations for Quipt Home Medical, a publicly traded HME provider; and Craig Douglas, vice president of payer and member relations for VGM & Associates. Miriam Lieber, president of Lieber Consulting, was the moderator. 

Davis acknowledged that Quipt Home Medical doesn’t have specific contracts with payers for value-based care yet, but she said the company has begun collecting and sharing certain data with them, like its impact on social determinants of health, to lay the foundation for alternative payment models. 

“We look at it as an opportunity to have a conversation with payers,” she said. “We have the ability to show payers that we’re working for them and their members. It helps us become a partner to the care they want – that’s one step.” 

In those conversations, it’s important for providers to tease out the “pain points” of payers, Douglas said. 

“At a high level, (value-based care) is better health, better care and lower cost, and the cost tends to be the major driver,” he said. “The how (to get there) becomes the question.” 

Hunt said it’s also important for providers to walk the talk and show health systems they can be trusted. 

“When the DME (provider) comes in, it’s always, ‘What do they want from me now?’” he said. “‘They want my business and they’re feeding off of me.’ (We’re) not viewed as a partner. We need to make sure they know we care about the communities we live in. We call them patients because they’re not a means to an economic end.”  

So many years in, value-based care might be a source of frustration for providers, but it should absolutely be part of their five-year plan, Hunt said.  

“As you’re living in today’s fee-for-service world, you need to move toward a more blended world,” he said. “You need to build muscle. You’re already doing things that benefit you; you’re already part way there. You just need to learn from it and grow into it.” 


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