VGM & Associates routinely monitors environmental factors which impact Home Medical Equipment (HME) providers and their ability to effectively provide their products and services to patients who need and rely on them. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes brought about by it, VGM Government Relations surveyed their members last year regarding the costs associated with delivering HME. That survey was dubbed VGM’s 2021 Home Medical Equipment Delivery Cost Report. Click here to view the 2021 Delivery Cost Survey responses, and summarized responses from nearly 100 individual HME providers. Their responses demonstrated the total costs associated with providing equipment such as oxygen, hospital beds, mobility equipment, and more to patients’ homes both before and during the public health emergency.
Data received from both the 2021 survey and a similar one conducted by VGM in 2018, prior to the pandemic, has been eye opening for many, including officials at CMS, members of Congress, and VGM members. This information was shared with and well-received by elected officials and other industry stakeholders, as it highlighted one of the sources of increased financial pressures on HME companies due to continuing pandemic issues.
HME providers play a critical, front-line role in patient care and minimizing hospitalizations. These same elected officials and stakeholders requested that VGM follow-up with questions relative to certain other PHE affiliated burdens which might affect access to appropriate patient service.
To that end, as a follow up to our 2021 survey, VGM has once again, for 2022, surveyed their members requesting updates of the costs of delivering home medical equipment as well as additional information relative to recent operational challenges such as supply change issues, employee wages, product acquisition cost increases, freight cost increases, and personal protective equipment (PPE). VGM also inquired as to the current wage levels of three common positions (delivery technician, billing personnel, and office staff) due to reports of required overtime, higher employee benefits packages, and difficulty maintaining sufficient staffing.
Click here to view the 2022 results. You will note VGM has again regionalized the responses by geographical area and have added a breakdown by company size: Small (1-10 employees), medium (11-50 employees), and large (+51 employees).
The data was sorted and arranged by Mark Higley, VP of regulatory affairs for VGM Government Relations. He commented “While I suspected the various costs and related factors in securing appropriate HME delivery services would increase – as compared to our previous two surveys – I underestimated the cumulative pressures on the business operations of these companies.” Higley continued, “I anticipated the higher vehicle expenses (due to the large fuel increases) but was rather stunned by the array of ancillary demands (e.g., supply chain, surcharges, freight, overtime, etc.) facing these most critical organizations serving the most cost-effective patient population.”
VGM and OAMES greatly appreciate those that took the time to submit your survey responses to quantify and identify this significant impact on the HME provider community.