BISMARCK, ND – For Greg Lord, winning the the Midwest Association for Medical Equipment Services (MAMES) Above and Beyond award is nice recognition for legislative activities that he views as essential in today’s world. “We all need to be focused on advocacy in the industry,” says Lord, director of CHI St. Alexius Great Plains Rehabilitation Services, Bismarck, ND. “By far this is our number one concern.”
Last year, Great Plains hosted all three of North Dakota’s Congressional leaders (two senators and one rep) on the same day. The photo above depicts Greg (left) speaking with Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) on the right. As a 34-year industry veteran, Lord once knew an industry that did not require such activism, but those days are gone, and he believes everyone must adjust.
“Our competition is not the DME down the street,” says Lord. “Our competitor is CMS, state Medicaid, third party insurance. They all view our industry as a commodity and not a vital health care service-oriented business.”
North Dakota is sparsely populated and Lord is particularly concerned about the prospect of competitive bidding rates hitting the largely rural state. “The roll out of competitive bidding in 2016 is most likely going to reduce our DMEs, and then beneficiaries will be under-served,” he laments. “Introducing CB into a rural area, where you are not increasing volume, will cause DME companies to go out of business. People will not be able to get medical equipment and supplies. Period.”
Lord’s caring attitude extends to his favorite pastime of playing eclectic folk music. As guitarist, banjo player, bass player, and ukulele player for Braveheart Band, the 58-year-old Lord plays at civic and charitable events with all proceeds going to benefit pediatric cancer research.
“One of my band member’s grandchildren had brain cancer,” explains Lord, who listens to everything from Simon and Garfunkel to AC/DC. “Her name was Ava Brae. We took the Ava Brae and kind of switched the letters around for our band name, because the nurses always said that Ava Brae had a brave heart. She beat the cancer with complete remission. My band mate made a deal with god—if Ava makes it, he would do this band.”