How to Thrive in HME Billing

Providers: It’s time for your HME billing business to thrive.

Since its launch in 2003, the competitive bidding program has created hardship for HME providers. Companies struggle to survive, with providers like you typically seeing profit margins of 5% or less. Low margins lead to lower quality products for patients – and reduced wages for employees.

As 2020 begins, HME providers are reflecting on the status of competitive bidding today and the future of the program tomorrow. Mark Higley, vice president at VGM, forecasts a 20% pay raise for providers from Medicare as the 2021 rates go into effect. How will this increase in revenue impact providers? What model is right for each business?

That’s why Joey Graham, our Executive Vice President and General Manager, has joined forces with Ty Bello, industry veteran and Chief Executive Officer at Team@Work, to explore the shift from surviving to thriving in the HME industry. They also provide important guidance on how to invest your additional revenue for long-term success.

Join us as Joey and Ty show you how to thrive in HME billing.

Survival Mode

HME providers have operated in one way over the last 16 years: survival mode. From layoffs to collections calls, providers cut costs, and sometimes corners, to stay afloat.

To contain costs, providers reduce or eliminate travel to state association meetings, advocacy initiatives such as AAHomecare, and major trade shows such as Medtrade, VGM Heartland, and the HME News Summit. With less travel comes fewer opportunities to network with providers, advocates, and vendors.

Providers also cut staff and services, overloading employees and reducing patient care levels. The HME industry once bent over backwards to provide quality patient care, but now follows more rigid procedures. In addition, providers must compromise on the quality of products they purchase.

These constraints also apply to professional development. No money in the budget means no room for sales training or revenue cycle management education. Consequently, employees see low wages, and companies, high churn, or turnover, rates. As providers suffer, they receive constant collections calls from vendors, are barely able to process payroll, and are often surviving on credit cards alone.

The Shift to Thriving

How can providers expect to thrive in this industry?

With decades of HME experience between them, Joey and Ty are sharing their best tips and practices for operating your business for a new, flourishing era. This week, we’ll dive into their first few suggestions.

Pay down high-interest debt.
Joey Graham, Prochant

As 2021 rates take effect, your company’s cash flow will improve with higher reimbursement from Medicare and other payers, as well as improved efficiency and reduced business costs. Next, consider paying down high-interest debt. Paying down these balances gives you access to new lines of credit and the liquidity necessary to make key purchases and weather future downturns.

Implement an operating system.
Joey Graham, Prochant

A company’s operating system is crucial to its success.

It dictates key aspects of your business including vision, people, processes, plans, and data. Yet, for most providers, current systems are informal, haphazard, unorganized, and not woven into the company culture. Implementing a formal system from one of the major players, then, can be a truly transformative process.

Some companies do not have formal, written selling systems. Like operating systems, there are various selling systems available. Your results will be significant once you receive full buy-in from sales management and executive leadership. To ensure long-term success, offer ongoing reinforcement training, coaching, and roleplaying.

Participate in industry events.
Ty Bello, Team@Work

A successful HME industry works together for the greater good of its customers.

Get involved in grassroots and legislative efforts, including state associations, national associations, and AAHomecare. I also suggest attending major industry shows such as Medtrade and VGM Heartland. By supporting, learning from, and networking with other providers and thought leaders, you gather the tools necessary to become a better provider.

Stay tuned to our HME billing blog for part two on how to thrive in HME billing. Joey and Ty’s recommendations are also available as a white paper, “2021 & Beyond: From Surviving to Thriving.” Download the white paper now.

Prochant is the nation’s leading HME billing and process outsourcing company. Our highly-skilled team helps providers become more profitable by outsourcing or enhancing front- and back-office processes. We rapidly implement changes and proactively monitor metrics to ensure client success. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, we work with top medical equipment providers and health systems.