Tom Muller writes:
>I am a long time watcher but first time poster
Thanks for your excellent post, Tom. Please keep it up.
>Well, here is a specific example upon which I need an opinion: An HMO in
>Arizona has recently signed a contract with a hearing IPA (Individual
>Provider Association) to have them provide services for their medicare risk
>insurance plan - an HMO policy for medicare patients, HCFA approved. The
>agreement states that the IPA members will provide FREE hearing tests, and
>also a 30% discount on hearing aids to all members. Right off the bat, of
>course, I am furious about the idea of a FREE hearing test - aren't we
>sending the wrong message?
I wouldn't be half as concerned about the FREE screening test as about the
30% discount on hearing aids. That is NOT 30% off of the profit. That is
30% off of everything. Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Iowa pulled that one
several years ago in Iowa. They paid no part, they only expected the
dispenser to discount a hearing aid 30%. Those who participated were doing
all kinds of things to keep from giving the 30%. I always wanted to see
BC/BS do an audit to make certain the discounts were being given.
Needless to say, there is no dispenser in the business who can give a
legitimate 30% off of their usual and customary price and survive. The
business cemeteries are filled with those that have tried.
Paul Woodard ;-)
Des Moines Iowa USA
Incidentally, in our practice the audiologists are paid a percentage of the
"gross profit" they contribute. This has to be the most fair way to pay
someone. If they want to give away 30% of the selling price of a hearing
aid, they can, but it reduces their income immensely. In other words, they
take their share of the loss. Totally fair!