Invacare’s Mixon first guest on HME Voice
ELYRIA, Ohio, Sept. 14, 2012—As the first guest on HME Voice, industry icon Mal Mixon—chairman of Ohio-based Invacare Corp.—expressed optimism about the movement to replace competitive bidding with the Marketing Pricing Program (MPP).
“I really feel we’ve got a very good chance of moving forward with the MPP,” said Mixon. “We are waiting for a CBO [Congressional Budget Office] scoring of how much we really have to save, but many things take precedence over our little industry request. Recently CBO officials came back with some very good questions, which have been answered, so I’m led to believe that they must be dealing with it and must be trying to score it. We keep saying it is going to come out any day, but so far it has not.”
HME Voice, powered by Medtrade Radio, is a new, live, Internet-based radio show hosted by Medtrade Group Show Director Kevin Gaffney and Michael Sperduti, president and CEO of New York-based Emerge Sales. The interview with Mixon took place on Thursday, September 13.
“I am going to fight to the bitter end,” Mixon said in the 35-minute interview. “We have fought competitive bidding for years and years, and unfortunately we have fallen on deaf ears. I am trying the very best I can to ameliorate this crisis. The latest attempt is the Market Pricing Program that AAHomecare is pushing. We have a lot Congressmen and Senators who are empathetic if we get the scoring done.”
Sperduti asked about the emphasis on equipment prices among many providers, but Mixon said he was not willing to cut back on quality, opting instead to find savings within the company structure. “We spent about $35 million on engineering and R&D last year, and we hope over the next five years to double that to $70 million,” Mixon said. “I am not trying to build the cheapest product. I am trying to build the best product, and that’s how it’s going to be. We know we have to be competitive, and we’ve said publicly that we hope to take $100 million out of our cost structure over the next five years worldwide.”
Many of Mixon’s customers will be at Medtrade this year from Oct 16-18, and the Invacare chairman plans to be there as well. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” said Mixon. “I have been to every Medtrade starting with the first one.”
Along with Gaffney, Sperduti will continue to conduct the all-audio HME Voice shows that can be listened to live like any radio show or replayed later on a computer, tablet, smart phone or downloaded as a podcast. “This live radio show is a unique concept,” said Gaffney. “It is designed to give the HME industry a voice to present innovative ideas, Washington updates, new technologies and inspiring stories.”
Completed shows will be posted on www.mikesperduti.com and on the Medtrade Web site at www.medtrade.com. “These days, a lot of optimism needs to come out,” says Sperduti. “The future really is bright and people can overcome these challenges we face.”
There is no set schedule for HME Voice yet, but as the show grows the hosts expect to have a more-regular schedule. Instead, Sperduti and Gaffney are looking to create excellent content through great guests and relevant information. “Content is king on this radio show,” says Sperduti. “We will be focused on getting great information to people and becoming a voice for the industry. There is no need to pre register for any show and there is no cost.”