Looking for news of all kinds


I received an email recently that pointed out the amount of “negative” news stories in HME News. “I implore you to seek out more positive and uplifting news stories because if I dread visiting your site on a daily basis expecting doom and gloom, I promise your other readers feel the same way,” it read.

We wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t cover the legislative and regulatory developments often considered “negative” news. It’s true that competitive bidding and audits have dominated the headlines in the past few years, but for good reason, as these are important realities in the industry today that can’t be ignored.

But we look for and write stories of all kinds, and we’re now making more of a conscious effort to elevate some of the non-bid, non-audit stories that we write. While these stories may appear in our print issues, they don’t typically appear in our HME Newswire that goes out each Monday and, therefore, aren’t typically as visible on our website.

In a recent Newswire, for example, we did run a story about the supplies market fracturing (this could be considered “negative” news), but we also ran stories on an HME icon’s return to the industry (Jane Wilkinson-Bunch), a young professional in the industry working with a university to broaden their education to include HME and supplies (Justin Racine) and a provider that hosts a local farmer’s market each week to elevate its presence in the community and help with health and wellness (Barnes Healthcare).

We also launched a special HME Newspoll in July asking readers to share some positive and uplifting news with us. See some of your responses below.

We take reader feedback seriously and we’re always working to improve, so we appreciate emails like these.

And, as always, we can’t write about what we don’t know. Story tips are welcome!

According to a clinical study published in the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses journal, people with spinal cord injury live twice as long if they have two factors in place: 1. a sense of independence (I can do this) and 2. a sense of support (I don't know how to do this, but I know who to call). When HME providers invest in programs that offer fellowship and support to their customers, we have a tangible impact in helping our community live longer, healthier lives, in addition to the products we provide for their independence. That's why it's so wonderful to see HME providers actively engaged in community programs on a regular basis!
—Lisa Wells, vice president of marketing, Cure Medical, Las Vegas

Having been in this industry since 1984, I have literally been through the best and the worst of times. These are most definitely the worst of times. However, the brightest part of what we do is allowing people to return home to an often loving family and familiar environment. The appreciation for what we do is seen so often by our field technicians and therapists and all of the office staff when patients stop by or send kind notes and cards. That is why we stay. That is why we do what we do. Caring people, caring for people.

We do a lot of hospice business. Our delivery drivers frequently receive praise from our customers' families because of the care and understanding during a great time of emotional need.
I think the reimbursement staying the same in rural areas was a big positive for our company. Hopefully, the reimbursement doesn't decrease.

The HME industry works tirelessly to help patients live out the best quality of life in the most comfortable place, their own home. HME providers and advocates are reducing the total spend of health care for a patient by preventing costly episodes of emergency and extended care. This is why we are seeing wins at the state level, and ultimately, will see wins at the national level. I am confident the value of the HME industry will continue to be recognized with our efforts to demonstrate the good we do for patients. Our state providers have done a great job of inserting themselves into the legislative dealings of healthcare, and the result has been the elimination of sole-source provider agreements, inclusion of patient choice, and a better working relationship between the state, our health plans, and providers to achieve a better outcome.

For as bad as it gets for the industry with regard to reimbursement, regulation and legislation, at the end of the day we can still go home knowing that we made a difference in the lives of our patients. Even if it all ends tomorrow, we made a difference and made someone's life better!
—Mark Barch, MS, RRT RCP, president/CEO, PCMStexas, LLC Arlington, Texas

I'll start by saying that this is a difficult task. While insurance cuts make it difficult to meet patient needs in their homes, technology has advanced to a point where people who previously would be stuck in a healthcare facility can now be at home with their families. Technology advances have improved the quality of lives for our patients and I am proud to be a part of that.
—Tom Buchanan, RRT, vice president of clinical services, Brotherston Home Respiratory, Bensalem, Pa.

We are still in the business of taking care of people and I receive confirmation every day from my patients. They are so appreciative of what we do to make their lives better.

Making a difference. My father started the first DME company in our area back in 1978. He saw a need in our community and decided to do something to help. He always went above and beyond to see that people had what they needed. When I was young, people would ask what I wanted to do when I grew up, and I would say "I want to do what Daddy does." This is the only industry I know; I grew up in it. It makes it worth fighting to stay in business to know we've made a difference in someone's life. It is my honor and privilege to continue his legacy and help the people of our community.
—Susan Thompson, owner, Home Breathing Care, Beckley, W.Va.