AAHomecare Update: Officers Talk About the Future of the HME Industry
- By Laurie Watanabe
- Apr 06, 2023
Attendees at last week’s Medtrade expo and conference had the opportunity to ask questions about the industry’s future at the American Association for Homecare’s (AAHomecare) ever-popular Update session.
In a March 30 news announcement, Medtrade said three AAHomecare officers — Bill Guidetti, Josh Marx, and Ryan Bullock — took questions from attendees and from social media queries on topics ranging from evolving ways of doing business to how technology can improve patient outcomes.
Not surprisingly, one of the questions was about what’s next for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Medicare competitive bidding program.
Guidetti, AAHomecare’s Chairman and also the Executive Vice President, Eastern Zone, for Apria Healthcare Group, said in response that “price discovery for competitive bidding happened in the last round, and pricing actually went up after three rounds,” Medtrade reported.
“Now we are reaching a tipping point in the industry,” Guidetti added. “We must keep lobbying to
remind Congress just how important we are in the value chain. Where do I think competitive
bidding is going to go? It’s likely there will be another round. Are there going to be carve-outs for
some of the respiratory products? I think that’s likely, but we’ll have to see what happens. But I do
think it’s likely there is going to be another round.”
Technology’s Impact on Tomorrow’s HME Provision
The panelists also described how technology has created opportunities for dealers to be more efficient across the many tasks involved in home medical equipment provision.
Guidetti said about e-prescribing, “You are going to improve your operating costs, increase cash collections, and lower error rates, meaning fewer audits. You’ll have better patient compliance and satisfaction. There are costs up front, no question, and you have to factor that in. But when you look across your team and look at the ability to build capacity, you can service more patients faster and have more accuracy. I think the DSOs (Days Sales Outstanding) will drop dramatically for you. I think we all should embrace e-prescribing. If we do, it’s a game-changer for our industry.”
Marx, AAHomecare’s Vice Chair and the CEO of Medical Service Company, addressed the future of the value-based payment model: “The DME industry absolutely needs to be a part of the value-based payment model. The simplest way to think about it is to spend one dollar to save two. As an industry, we do that every day by managing chronic conditions, lowering readmissions, and eliminating hospital stays.”
Marx also embraced e-prescribing and other ways to improve business efficiencies: “I encourage us all to invest in technology to collect and harness data, thinking about e-prescribe and tools that we can use to aggregate. And then we need to speak with our payers and other stakeholders and explain how they are spending a dollar to save two dollars.”
Bullock, the COO of Aeroflow and incoming AAHomecare Vice Chair, discussed how much business operations have changed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. “At Aeroflow, probably about 80 percent of our workforce is remote. … One of the things that we learned early on March 16, 2022, when we sent everyone home, is that we’ve got to trust our people. That’s been the mantra — to lead with trust.”
Medtrade took place in Dallas last week and debuted a single-event-per-year format after a lengthy history of having two shows per year, one in the eastern United States and the other in the western United States. Next year’s Medtrade is scheduled for March 26-28, also in Dallas.
Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.