Describe your business.
We’re an independently owned, three-location company. We’re pretty much a full-line, full-service DME, rehab, repair. Respiratory is still our primary income.
What is your main respiratory focus?
CPAPs/sleep therapy and oxygen are probably about 50/50.
How did you first become involved in your state association?
I’ve been involved since about 1986 or ’87. I was working for someone else at the time. My primary reason, or his for wanting me to be involved, was to become better informed — and by being better informed, actually, the business that I was with at that time gained more knowledge of how to bill correctly and how to sell better, just little ends like that. That’s still to me the key component of any good state association is keeping all companies that are members informed of key points of what’s going on. If someone who wasn’t a member of an association were to join yours, what would they get out of it?
We have a very unique situation with our state where we meet with them on a quarterly basis. They do listen to us. We have an open e-mail opportunity with these individuals who are the policymakers. When I get a member that either e-mails me or calls me with a problem, I take action on that.
Describe the educational opportunities offered by your association.
We have an annual seminar in November. We try to feature something that companies could gain financially from doing. We do a respiratory and a rehab seminar. We usually do a billing seminar every other year. We also give two networking sessions to our membership. We do at least six education features plus our annual conference a year.
Has your membership increased?
Actually, we have. I think a big part of that is we feature how to make revenue other ways besides insurances, and then secondly, we feature what Medicare is changing and help people to learn those things.
Describe your state association’s involvement in lobbying.
What we’ve done is we have passed on either through AAHomecare or VGM or The MED Group what they’ve asked of us to do, and then we rally our membership to join with that. It’s been very effective. We’ve had more and more members inviting their representatives and their senator when that’s possible to come to their place of employment. It’s really been a positive experience because I think that’s how we’ve all been able to have them go, “Now I understand why a concentrator can be a complex piece of equipment.” We teach providers that it’s a very painless experience.
Do you think it’s more important today for providers to get involved with their state and regional associations?
Yes, I do. The more eyes and ears that hear something, it gets interpreted different ways. So, then if we interpret it several different ways, then we can question it in several different ways. Like when you sit at a board meeting, you can toss something out there, and the final product you get is a nice, finished product because everyone’s had a discussion about it. We have companies that make $50 million down to somebody that might do $2 million, and it’s going to be OK for all of us. That’s why I think a membership in a group like WAMES is a value. Because we do, we respect everybody, no matter what your company size is, and we see the needs of all size companies.