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What's the polar vortex of HME?

What's the polar vortex of HME?

In the past few months, a number of people have emailed me suggesting an HME NewsPoll to get a pulse on the financial health of HME providers in 2013. A good way to do that, they said: Ask providers about their DSO, A/R and patient collection rates.

So that's what we did.

One of the people who emailed me noted that if a provider has 20+% A/R greater than 60 days old, that means trouble.

And wouldn't you know it, so far, the majority of respondents to the poll say they have 20+% A/R greater than 60 days old. Here's how the responses to that question break out right now:

What percentage of your A/R was greater than 60 days old in 2013?
0-10%    6
11-20%    14
20+%    26

In another question, a majority says their A/R greater than 60 days old increased at the end of 2013 compared to the end of 2012.

This is based on a small sample (46 respondents), but still.

In reviewing some of the comments to the poll, the bulk of the blame for this falls on audits. One respondent summed it up this way:

“Illinois Public Aid (is) behind nine months to a year; private insurers (are) “developing” every claim—requesting documentation for almost all claims, (they) may as well go back to paper billing and attaching it on the front end; and increased Medicare pre-pay review. DME is a tough industry these days.”

The respondent added: “Less patient pay due to less people employed and less income to pay their bills.”

Another respondent echoed that last statement by saying, “Patients are increasingly struggling to pay balances and choosing to pay other bills instead (heat, power, cable, etc.).”

Paying the heating bill is no joke these days for people in many parts of the country. We're only two weeks into January, but I think “polar vortex” should be the word of the year for 2014.

The rest of the questions hold a bit of better news: A very slight majority of respondents says their DSO has decreased in 2013 compared to 2012; and a very slight majority says they collected a larger percentage of balances owed by patients in 2013 vs. 2012.

If you haven't completed the poll, please do so here.

And check out the February issue for the complete results.


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