Moving the HME Industry Forward


Three Years and Much More

September 15, 2014

FORT COLLINS, CO – After 163 consecutive Medtrade Mondays, you would figure the dreaded “slow news week” would have materialized at least once. Instead, the HME news cycle remains vibrant—too vibrant. It’s great for journalists, but occasionally nerve wracking for business owners.

It hasn’t always been this way. The first time I did an “HME” article, I had never heard of Invacare and requested a spelling. That was 1999, and the industry hummed along with quiet stability. Oh how things changed.

The great “fraud and abuse” miseries hit the industry, complete with 60 Minutes segments and interviewees boldly declaring that bilking Medicare was a heck of a lot easier (and safer) than smuggling cocaine. Competitive bidding ravaged the industry, and the ill-conceived program continues to damage providers and patients.

Through it all, the majority of providers I speak with are relentlessly optimistic. It’s true that I tend to gravitate toward Medtrade attendees and AAHomecare members, a group that tends to be more motivated. The cynical might call them delusional, but I disagree.

These “delusional” survivors see undeniable opportunity, and they are determined to be around when the smoke clears. As a journalist, I root for them. I even write letters to my own members of Congress to further their agenda.

I want HME providers to succeed, not only because I make my living covering the industry, but because I want the nation’s seniors to get the equipment they need. My wife is an aid for seniors, and she sees too many situations where basic equipment needs go unmet. Opportunity is there, and it’s not going away.

As frequent Medtrade Monday contributor Jeff Baird pointed out in a recent editorial, a new breed of provider recognizes this opportunity and is unencumbered by nostalgia for the good ol’ days. And yet, you don’t have to be a “newbie” to understand the new reality. You can change your way of thinking.

A great first step is attending Medtrade. Yeah, you knew that was coming, but it happens to be true. The nation’s premiere HME-focused event is a little more than a month away, and there is still time to get good airfare/hotel rates.

If you’re wondering how to change your mindset and what you need to do, the presenters at Medtrade know the answer. The show is scheduled for Oct 20-23, 2014, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. I hope to see you there.  

Greg Thompson is editor of Medtrade Monday and PR director for Medtrade. Follow Greg on Twitter (@GregThompson91).