CLEVELAND – Medtrade Monday’s “Chat With The Chairman” tradition continues via a conversation with Josh Marx, CEO of Ohio-based Medical Service Company. As the newly elevated chairman of the Board for the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare), Marx hopes to boost unity and help providers prepare for increased demand. Reimbursement relief and thoughtful industry counsel are two priorities among many.
Medtrade Monday: How are you determining association priorities in these early days?
Marx: The association is currently going through a multi-layered strategic planning process. The association has a laser focus on its near-term goals, while also having clarity on its north-star (core ideology) of caring for patients in the home and protecting that benefit. In our strategic planning process, we want to ensure we have attention and assets directed toward strategies in the medium-term, connecting our near-term and north star. In the end, we want to create more value for all our stakeholders, and this process is assisting the association with that.
Medtrade Monday: What is your top priority?
Marx: It’s the association’s responsibility to be a good steward of the industry, advocate for its stakeholders, and provide reimbursement relief, as well as overall industry counsel. It has done that for many years and I expect that to continue during my tenure, thanks to Tom Ryan and the extraordinary AAHomecare team. When my role ends, I hope that our association and industry is even more unified, focused, and well-positioned to deliver home-based healthcare services—in whatever form they evolve into.
Medtrade Monday: What should providers be doing now from a technological standpoint to be ready for increased demand?
Marx: Internally facing, at our company we look to find tech and tools to standardize a lot. One of the largest areas of variability in our business is the coverage criteria by state, payer, product, and then the inevitable interpretation that each employee has. With broad adoption of ePrescribe, or a digital qualification tool, this variability can be managed at scale.
Externally, we are conscious to adjust our care delivery based on individual patient’s needs and desires. I favor personalized care over automated care, but that isn’t a free pass to say tech doesn’t matter. We find a large part of our patient population prefers no-touch and low-touch options. SaaS, API, ML, and AI are all acronyms that are becoming far more familiar in our business and likely others are looking to compete.
Medtrade Monday: Back at Medtrade, you made some comments about the emergence of a value-based payment model. How would you define this model and why is it important?
Marx: Value-based Care is not going away and it’s happening around and above us. This is seen in ACOs, bundled-payment programs, and more. I heard someone explain fee-for-value in a way that was simple for me to understand—spend $1 to save $2. It’s our responsibility as an industry to unpack that and connect the dots toward the savings HME offers. With greater adoption of digital platforms like ePrescribe, we can better comprehend the aggregate value we offer through the data available.
Medtrade Monday: How well do legislators understand the HME industry in 2023?
Marx: In May, AAHomecare launched a legislative fly-in where hundreds of meetings with legislators and their staff members took place. I had the opportunity to participate in several and was overwhelmed with pride while sharing the story of my company, the resilience of our industry, and highlighting the extraordinary [recent] challenges we’ve faced (pandemic, recall, supply chain, wage inflation…shall I continue?). The legislators get it, but we can’t let them forget it. It takes everyone in our industry to ‘lobby’ for HME. Tom, Jay Witter, and the AAH team do incredible work on the Hill, but the grassroots effort can’t stop. We need effort and attention from all HME stakeholders. If you’re reading this, you’re an HME stakeholder.
Medtrade Monday: What would you say to providers who are on the fence about getting involved?
Marx: Again, if you’re reading this, you’re an HME stakeholder. If you aren’t involved and a member of the association, you aren’t giving it 100% for yourself. If you’re not sure how to get involved, or what impact it will have on your business, call or text me. I’d love to connect and share with you what AAHomecare has done for our business and the industry we are committed to. You can reach me at (216) 408-9203.
Medtrade Monday: When you ponder the next decade, what is your level of optimism?
Marx: I see incredible things happening for our industry over the next decade and beyond. The stats are astounding. The U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2016 that there were 49.2 million American’s 65+. They project there will be 77 million in 2034 and 94.7 million in 2060. What the exact business and reimbursement model will look like in the future is up for grabs and is up to us. In whatever form it evolves into, the need for home-based care is rapidly growing.