Consider Communication

Consider Communication

Shelly Prial

Byline: Shelly Prial

There is one facet of operation that DME/HME principals should take more time to consider. It is in-house communication.

Look upon your employees as team members. When you decide to make any change in your business, run a promotion, put on a new line, add another member to staff or establish new guidelines, do it with your team.

Think about it: Every employee in your company may know more about their area of your company’s operation than you. They are protective of their personal “turf” and want it to make it as productive as possible. When they are successful, you will reward them with promotions and salary increases.


Your team must always be kept informed of all pending changes or modifications you are contemplating. In that fashion, they become partners in whatever project is at hand, and they will want to help in making that project a success.

There are many simple ways to build a team attitude. I have always been a strong proponent of holding scheduled staff meetings. When you allow your employees to contribute, they may amaze you with their ideas.

Some providers I have spoken with find that distributing a weekly memo to the staff allows company personnel to study your ideas. Then, when they have some positive contribution to make, your door will be open to allow employees an opportunity to express their thoughts.

The ability to run every facet of any business properly is difficult. So, when you have an informed staff and people who want to help, the next step after communication is delegation.

When you hold a staff meeting and one of your employees comes up with a dandy suggestion, what should you do? Appoint that person to lead the effort. That is what delegating means. The same thing should take place when they come to you with any good idea.

When you delegate, every employee must know what you expect from him or her specifically. Then your task becomes supervisory, allowing you the luxury of time to do other things.

Delegating is much more gentle that “directing” or “ordering.” A military officer orders, a teacher or a minister directs, you delegate. This is the most effective way that you, as the leader and the principal of the company, can obtain the very best from your employees. They are your team.

I learned many years ago that building a successful and profitable company is a team effort. Build the team!

Election-Year Smoke

My e-mailbox is constantly filled with messages about new legislation being introduced in Congress and in the state capitols, all about changes that dramatically affect DME and other small business operations.

As a late septuagenarian, I caution you to accept nothing as final – and don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is a presidential election year, and a great deal of smoke will be sent in your direction.

Don’t hesitate to call your legislators to find out their opinions, or to let them know yours. Of course, support your local and national DME associations and allow them to be your legislative contact in your state and with officials in Washington.

Keep the Comments Coming

Just a quick acknowledgment to those of you who have sent comments about my recent articles on accreditation and telemedicine. I appreciate hearing from you.

Sheldon “Shelly” Prial is based in Melbourne, Fla., with Prial Consulting and also serves as the director of government relations for Atlanta-based Graham-Field Health Products. In 1987, he founded the Homecare Providers Co-Op, now part of The VGM Group. He can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 321/255-3885.

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