Heartland Conference: How to ‘Outperform Stress,' Why MA Plans Are Here to Stay, What Makes Resupply Promising

Published in Member Communities on June 15, 2023

Heartland ConferenceThis article was originally featured in HME News.

VGM kicked off its 2023 Heartland Conference on Tuesday with a keynote session from Adam Markel on “change proof resilience,” an apt topic for HME provider attendees navigating the fast-paced health care environment. 

Markel, who is a former lawyer turned researcher, speaker and author of a number of books, including Change Proof, said resilience, contrary to what we think, is not about Rocky-like endurance. 

“That’s the grit model,” he said. “I was raised that’s how you win, but it doesn’t work. We need to alternate our stress with recovery. It’s about how we recover; that’s what resiliency is.” 

Markel was among the 90 experts addressing the more than 1,000 provider, vendor and other attendees at the Heartland Conference, June 12-14 at the Waterloo Convention Center in Waterloo, Iowa, VGM’s hometown. 

Markel said “meaningful recovery” is a “holistic” process. He shared the case study of Denise, a hospital CEO, who, after a setback, incorporated 10 minutes of meditation each morning (mental), 30 minutes of personal reading before bed (emotional), 20 minutes of walking (physical) and restarted a hobby (spiritual). 

“Outperform your stress,” he said. “That’s your goal. In our uncertain world – and we’re all living in the same world – if there’s one thing we can be certain about when we go to bed, it’s our resilience. It’s your competitive advantage.” 

It’s not going away 

Laura Williard set the stage for a session at Heartland on Medicare Advantage this way: Almost 58% of Medicare beneficiaries, or 29 million beneficiaries, are now covered by almost 4,000 MA plans – and counting. 

“The reason Humana is going all Medicare Advantage is because it’s profitable,” said Williard, vice president of payer relations for AAHomecare, who co-presented with Jeff Baird and Denise Leard of Brown & Fortunato. “If I look at 2021, Medicare Advantage profits per enrollee is $1,730.” 

Williard noted that AAHomecare’s Payer Relations Council is working on proposals on how to regulate MA plans to protect access to care. 

Of course, the $64 million question in the room was, what do providers do if they’re frozen out of MA plans? Williard recommended sharing information with payers on their product portfolio and their geographic reach compared to their competitors and keeping track of when hospitals or physicians want to work with them but can’t because they’re out of network. 

“It’s frustrating,” said Baird, chairman of the Health Care Group at B&F. “People want lawyers to come in and fix it, but the law doesn’t allow that. It takes time. It’s an s-l-o-g. You just have to be persistent.” 

‘We have blinders on’ 

Challenges abound, but opportunity was also in the air at Heartland. One of those opportunities: resupply. Joey Graham and Ronda Buhrmester teamed up for a session at Heartland on mastering that business. 

“We have blinders when it comes to resupply – that it’s only CPAP,” said Graham, chief revenue officer at Prochant. “Meanwhile, all these other product categories are eligible for resupply. We think there’s a lot of opportunity to maximize the resupply revenue in your business.” 

Other product categories that are a good fit for resupply include urology, ostomy, incontinence, diabetes, enteral, mastectomy, TENS, neb-meds and more. 

Graham said two things that are critical to mastering your resupply business: Creating a “happy path” for each patient that includes proactive prescription management and multi-modality engagement (phone, email and text); and building a dedicated team to manage that path. 

“This is not your normal intake team,” he said. “A new order, a setup, a stat discharge will always take precedence. So, if you have a team who does intake and they also manage resupply, what goes on the backburner? It’s resupply. You have to have a different team, so they can be focused and successful.”


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