The 2017 HME News Business Summit prides itself as the premier education event for HME leaders and this year’s Summit certainly lived up to the expectation. The Summit provided countless chances to better understand the trends in the industry from the HME owners’ point of view.
From the Welcome Gathering on Sunday to the Financial Benchmark Survey on Tuesday, there were a variety of educational opportunities — participating in workshops and panel discussions, listening to industry experts and talking with owners one-on-one. Topics ranged from the Affordable Care Act and Medicare to business models focusing on manufacturer- and customer-based relationships to using automation to reduce costs.
Our keynote speaker, Donald Carroll of Cleveland Clinic, explained how 80% of our healthcare determinants were outside of the US healthcare delivery system. Our health behaviors (diet, exercise), our social and economic factors (education, income) and our physical environment (quality of air and water) had a greater impact on our health than our access to care and the quality of care we received. Carroll wondered if healthcare expanded into the other areas, could we create a true public health system.
“Population Health,” which is the process of strategically and proactively managing a patient’s care while reducing costs, is a new buzzword in the industry. Can we achieve population health by coordinating the efforts of pharmacies, fitness centers, imaging centers, surgery centers, hospitals and recovery facilities? The end goal would be improving the patient’s experience of care by treating them at home as much as possible. Carroll proposed that the first step toward Population Health might be shifting reimbursement from a volume-based to a value-based model with the role of the provider receiving payment based on a patient’s outcomes. By managing the care continuum through all of the patient’s touch points, the provider can provide personalized care that transcends time and physical location which may help control the cost of care long term.
The Summit concluded with its state of the industry presented by Rick Glass of Steven Richards & Associates. The HME industry has changed greatly over the last several years, and is continuing to evolve–we have fewer, but larger players. The reason Glass explained, “Profitability shrank from 12% to 10% and growth slowed marginally over last year, as providers continue to focus on improving efficiency of operations.” He does not see this trend reversing since providers continue to struggle with reduced reimbursements. Glass shared that of survey responders, 23% of the providers are focusing on efficiency, productivity and reducing costs.
Reflecting on the summary of the industry overview, I was glad to reaffirm that Allegiance Group is part of the solution. Our signature product, COLLECTPlusTM, can free your staff from the billing and collection process so they can focus on retail sales and other activities to grow your business.
I look forward to next year’s Summit!
Bruce Gehring, SVP Business Development