Caregivers don't seek out HMEs

By Jim Sullivan

CHARLESTOWN, R.I - Family caregivers make four out of five purchasing decisions for caregiving health products, but HME providers are not high on the list of places to get practical information on caregiving, according to a new study by The Caregiver's Advisory Panel (TCAP).

The study - Caregiving in the U.S. Needs, Issues and Insights, 2001 Edition - was based on survey responses from more than 1,200 family caregivers from all regions of the United States.

Only one in nine caregivers are likely to turn to an HME store for advice, said Paul Alper, president of the TCAP. "Other channels are getting business - business that could just as easily be going to dealers," he said.

Alper said his survey results show that most HME providers don't target the caregiver person as the go-to person when marketing. He said providers are more apt to see the decision-making process from the patient's point-of-view, as opposed to the caregivers.

In general, providers say they are leery about seeing things too keenly from the caregiver's point of view." On most audits today, they say that if the caregiver has anything to do with the product itself, they don't pay for that," said Vince DeStigter, CEO of Western Healthcare Industries in Jackson, Calif.

More than 25 million people in America currently provide care for their family members at home, and that number is expected to dramatically increase. HME NEWS