Hot in the Heartland


There’s an old saying: If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Here at the VGM Heartland Conference, where the temp has been hovering stubbornly in the 90s, attendees are being plied with food, bevvies and a solid slate of networking events to keep us from noticing those temps.

Speaking of heat, I found it oddly metaphorical that a panel discussion with CMS, the SBA, and contractors from Noridian and C2C, was held in a small, dark room that lacked both natural light and A/C. Let’s face it, many of the audits and other regulatory pressures that providers face have them hot, bothered and gasping for air.

“The claims process, the audits process, the appeals process. What are you not getting from us that you need to see?” implored one provider.

To be clear, these reps are not the cause of the problem, and they have indicated, and continue to indicate, a willingness to listen to providers and seek opportunities for improvements in the process.

As the first official day of the conference wrapped up yesterday, I would say attendees are on the whole, pleased. Despite thunderstorms, the hog roast went off without a hitch and I heard (literally) the fireworks were awesome.

As was the keynote speech, given by former Navy Seal Kevin Lacz. Lacz got a standing ovation for his talk on risk vs. reward, drawn from his experiences overseas. This is a man who has faced enemy fire and seen friends—teammates—killed, and can still empathize with providers who have to deal with Medicare.