Realistic Rebecca?


Publisher Rick Rector told me recently, I get comments all the time about how a lot of the news we run is negative.


Then I got an email from Jeff Baird this week commenting on Monday’s HME Newswire, saying it was “informative, but sobering.” The two top stories in that Wire: “CMS ‘does whatever it wants,’ say frustrated stakeholders,” and “HME infrastructure crumbles.”


My knee-jerk reaction was to question myself and our coverage, but now that I’ve thought about it, I guess I’d rather be called a Negative Nancy than Polly Positive, at least when it comes to what the HME industry has had to endure in the past 10 years. The list is long: competitive bidding, of course, but also audits, surety bond requirements, payment delays, it goes on and on and on.

I wrote back to Jeff: “Yes, some call HME News too negative. I like to call it realistic.”

Is there a moniker for realistic? Realistic Rebecca? How about Rachel Realistic? I digress.

There is much good going on in the industry—mainly the superhero jobs providers are doing taking care of their patients—and that bears reporting, too, but these are, to use Jeff’s word, sobering times for the HME industry, the most sobering in its history, I would argue.

Still, when Theresa and I met on Wednesday afternoon to come up with an idea for the cartoon for the June issue, we set aside the idea of providers literally running away from Medicare (playing off of AAHomecare’s recent data analysis that more than 40% of providers have dropped that business) or of a large building representing the HME industry literally crumbing (also a play off of that data).

Instead, we went with what we think is a pretty funny visual of travel CPAPs making their way through an airport security checkpoint unencumbered, as opposed to their regular CPAP counterparts. This plays off the news this month that both ResMed and Philips have launched mini-CPAP devices better suited for traveling. See cartoon below.

That’s a bit of positive news for you: manufacturers in the industry developing technology that improves not only convenience but also compliance to therapy and, therefore, overall health.

Of course, about everything else related to that news, however—like how manufacturers are forced to market travel CPAPs as retail items due to the restrictive reimbursement environment—I choose to be realistic.


I’ve always found your publication’s coverage to be fair and balanced. The unfortunate reality is that the bulk of industry’s news has been negative for some time now. While there may always be a silver lining somewhere, I appreciate that your publication provides the facts without spin. Your publication informs the industry in a meaningful way. Perhaps more importantly though, your publication also educates the masses about our plight. I’ve seen many links from mainstream publications and on social media that refer to your articles. If those articles skew toward Polly or Debbie, I believe it would be a detriment to all of us.  So, while there may be a time and place for Polly, Rebecca, and Debbie, I appreciate that you write for me, the Joe Friday type of reader.  Just sayin'