In the March issue, Repertoire asked a number of sales professionals to talk about how reform is affecting their customers and how they are responding. Participants were:
- Alan Grogan, president, Grogan’s Healthcare Supply.
- Gina Marchese, senior vice president, sales and marketing, MMS – A Medical Supply Company.
- Patrick Balistreri, field sales consultant; and Ty Ford, general manager, Healthcare Services, Henry Schein Medical.
- Bob Ortiz, vice president, sales, physician office division, Medline Industries.
The following is one of the questions asked. For the complete article, visit www.repertoiremag.com
Repertoire: In light of healthcare reform, do the majority of your physician practice customers anticipate an influx of patients in the year(s) ahead? Decrease? No big change? What can you as a sales rep do to help them respond?
Grogan: I think physicians still don’t quite know what to expect at this point. They hear both sides of the current debate, neither of which can be fully trusted. Common sense says they should expect they will be asked to do more – see more patients – with less –lower reimbursement – along with everyone else in the system. Medicaid is already the predominant payer in parts of our market, and nearly 80 percent of the early ACA enrollees in Kentucky went on Medicaid, so that system will be under greater pressure. As suppliers, we have to figure out ways to help them do more for less, with greater efficiency internally, and with products focused on outcomes but not with premium price tags, none of which are that easy.
Balistreri: One community health center in my territory is expecting an influx of patients, and they are responding by building a new, larger facility and adding staff. My primary care and internal medicine customers are also looking at an influx of patients, though it depends on location. Some practices in the city are expecting more newly insured patients because of the Affordable Care Act, but others, such as those in the suburbs, are not so sure, because many of their patients already have insurance. Those health centers and practices that are anticipating more patients are either adding physician partners, or they are bringing on more physician assistants and nurse practitioners.
Ford: The anticipation of more patients is another factor driving acquisitions, strategic partnerships and strategies at the IDN level. They’re looking at it from a cost-to-serve perspective, and are asking themselves, “How can we see more patients without increasing our top line?” In the past, they assumed the primary care setting would accommodate growth; today, they’re adding new specialties and getting into markets they weren’t in before, such as freestanding ERs.
Ortiz: Most of our customers are expecting a significant increase in patient traffic. Our sales force must respond to this with technology solutions and operational efficiencies.