Help us give you what you want

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02/12/2020

I was recently a guest on Erik Mickelson’s podcast “DME Coach.” Erik asked me, “You’re a reporter; what makes your life easier, from the reporter side of things; what are you looking for from us providers?” I joked, “That the providers we call pick up the phone and talk to us?”

But it’s true. The HME industry is not so much an industry of press releases and press conferences, and so covering the industry, from our small office in Yarmouth, Maine, entails a lot of … well, calling providers and hoping they pick up the phone.

We have this tradition at HME News, going back to former editors Jim Sullivan and Mike Moran, of the “cold call corral,” when we call half a dozen providers a day for the first three days of working on a new issue. These calls are our way of having boots on the ground. They’re an opportunity to ask providers: Are you doing anything new; have you launched a new program or added a new product; what’s keeping you up at night?

Sometimes we go into these calls with a short checklist of things we want providers to weigh in on, like the most recent round of Medicare’s competitive bidding program or the most recent audit to get picked up by the RAC. But more often than not, we want you to talk, and we want to listen.

These phone calls are often what lead to our best stories, the stories HME News is known for and the stories that, often, no one else has (because, see above re: “cold call corral”).

Later in the podcast, Erik asked me, “What’s a question that I haven’t asked you that you wish I would ask you?” I asked Erik, “What do you, a provider and reader of HME News, wish we’d do differently?”

His answer: “My favorite thing that I come across when you guys do do this, are individual stories of someone who is fighting the good fight. They’re leaving the cave to go kill something and bring it home, because that’s what we’re all trying to do…Typically, if you look at a business like an Airbnb, there was a need, someone came up with an idea and they fixed it. They came up with something unique on how to build something. Those are my favorite stories. When you have a new product category and it works. I love to hear about the Smiths and the Joneses and the Johnsons. That’s my favorite part. (Everything else)—data is data, and things are what they are.”

We don’t get press releases from the Smiths, Joneses or Johnsons, so help us give you what you want. Pick up the phone. Talk. We’re ready to listen.