The HME180 Podcast – Episode 3 – Lane Hamm with AZ MediQuip


In this episode of The HME180 Podcast, Sue and Lane Hamm, CEO of AZ MediQuip, delve into the pivotal role of independent retailers in the healthcare industry. Lane, previously an outsider to HME products but an expert in retail, emphasizes the empowerment and immediate solutions that HME retailers can implement, contrasting them with larger chains like CVS or Walmart. He describes running a business as solving a puzzle, applying retail strategies such as community engagement, differentiation, and staff training on the different HME products. Despite challenges in insurance reimbursement, Lane remains optimistic about the industry’s growth. He expresses fulfillment with his role as CEO, citing a sense of mission and excitement for future growth, while emphasizing the importance of empathy as a competitive edge.

Listen to Our Episode:


Click to enlarge photos and learn more about AZ MediQuip!


Introduction: Welcome, you’re listening to The HME180 Podcast. Every month, your host Sue Chen will interview the best of the best HME retailers who are fearless, innovative, and committed to their work. On this month’s episode, our special guest is Lane Hamm, CEO of AZ MedEquip with eight locations spread across Arizona.

Sue Chen: Hi, and welcome to The HME180 Podcast. I’m your host Sue Chen. And the mission of this podcast is to empower human ability by empowering our independent pharmacies and HME retailers. I wanted to first thank you for being here. Thanks for listening, because we’re getting a lot of traction and showing the power of the independents. I wanted to send a special shout out to Jay Buinicky the CEO of Mobility & More for posting our first review. Thank you, Jay for doing that. And it means so much. 

I wanted to start this episode with some perspective. When I chat with people outside our industry, they assume we are crushing it, mainly because our demographic around the Baby Boomers is so strong. I mean the number of Baby Boomers over 65 this year will be 50 million, and that will peak in the next several years to 78 million Americans. But our industry is unlike any other and our journey from HME reimbursement to retail is as provocative and drama filled as a Hollywood movie I’ve been in in this industry for over 30 years. And by and large we don’t get a lot of outsiders, especially in HME retail and with the HME independents. Our listeners, you know that HME retail is unique, challenging and complicated. So much so that the big players in mass retail have all failed or retreated from going big with HME retail. So it takes someone with some serious grit, courage and hope to come into our arena and take on HME retail. And with that we have a very special guest on this episode today. Lane Hamm is the CEO of AZ MedEquip, a beautiful and exciting HME retailer in Arizona with eight locations. They are 100% retail. We met last year at MedTrade when he was just five months into the role. And now with almost a year and a half in the trenches, I’m excited to have him on The HME180 Podcast. Welcome Lane!

Lane Hamm: Thank you, Sue. It’s nice to be here on your podcast. Looking forward to chatting with you.

SC: Yes. So how are you doing today?

LH: Today? I’m doing great. I mean, I’m here in Scottsdale, Arizona. It’s 61 degrees right now going to be a high of 76 or something like that the sunshine. And so certainly, it’s one of the things that I think attracted me to the job was being here in Arizona. But this is a perfect time of the year to be here. So my day is starting off really well. 

SC: That’s great. And it really is this is this was beautiful time I believe in your state. So as I  shared you are relatively new to our industry. Can you share with the listeners your professional background before coming to AZ MediQuip?

LH: Sue, absolutely. I’ve, um, you know, like a lot of folks, you know, we kind of either you go to college, or maybe you get out of high school and you kind of stumble into to something. Well, I stumbled into retail, about 30 years ago, that certainly wasn’t something that I thought, someday I’m gonna work for a retailer and I’m gonna have stores and etc, etc. But, you know, one of my early jobs was working –I actually found a job with a retailer’s financial analyst. My boss was working for the FDIC. And my boss actually knew I was getting bored. And so she actually introduced me to her husband who was putting something together. And that was my first foray into retail working for a small video retailer and they ultimately got acquired by Blockbuster. So I got 10 years at Blockbuster. And then I had a little gap in between that. And my next retail job, which was a regional furniture retailer based in St. Louis, where I spent 15 years and ultimately got to start off as a CFO and ended up moving into the president and CEO role along the way. And then now I’m here at AZ MediQuip, where I’ve been, as you mentioned before, about a year and a half. So in total I’ve got about 30 years in retail, so and
I like it. I like the fact that it’s at least retail for the most part has always been fast moving, ever changing. Consumer tastes kind of change. This certainly is different than that, is what I’ve discovered. But, you know, I’ve got a rich history in retail.


SC: You certainly have. And if our listeners are under a certain age, they may not know what Blockbuster is. But for you guys under, say, 30, there was a time that we couldn’t just stream any movie and we actually had to go to a physical store location, and rent movies, and watch them on our VCR. So, and that’s how we all we all did it at that time. 

LH: That is absolutely true. 

SC: Okay. [laughs] So there are so many areas and retail as you are 30 years into your career that you could have transition to. So why HME Retail and why AZ MediQuip. And perhaps share your understanding, or basic impression of HME retail before diving in?

LH: Sure. Well, you know, I think when I when you sit when you hear 30 years in retail, I think that kind of communicates, you know, that I’m getting a little older. So, you know, I think we were—my wife and I were to kind of a time in 2022 where I was looking for something different. And so you’re right, when he when you think about options and places that I could go to and maybe sectors in retail, I actually been thinking about kind of something healthcare related, given, you know, they continue—and part of this aging population demographics, but also the continued growth you see in healthcare, whether that’s urgent care, or what you’re seeing in physician networks, etc, etc. So a lot of consolidation, a lot of growth. And certainly from the outside looking in, looking at demographics that you opened the podcast with talking about those numbers of Boomers, I’m thinking, well, this is a space really focused on the Boomer population. So you’ve got a demographics in your favor. So that certainly played into it. The fact that it was retail, the fact that, you know, we were small-ish, certainly, for me small, and from a volume standpoint and looking to grow. So those were things that I thought about, and then location, I talked about the weather here in Phoenix. So I think location was interesting. The space was interesting, and the demographics behind that space, and then we’re owned by private equity. And that was interesting to me as well, feeling like, Okay, this is something maybe I can build and maybe get rewarded for down the road, having some, you know, small ownership stake as well. So those were all things that played into it, you know, when I came down to interview, because candidly, I didn’t, you know, this is not a product that I’ve haven’t really needed yet, my parents hadn’t needed it yet. And so I didn’t have a lot of insight into the HME retail space until I came down for the interview. And so I came down with Mark, and actually visited through Mark Nicotero, we went to the AZ MediQuip stores, I think well laid out easy to shop, friendly staff are my impressions, and then we went to some other retailers that were probably they’re certainly more focused on insurance. And that was a different experience, they were a little harder to shop. Service wasn’t quite the same, at least in the two that we went into. They’re not all like that. But that was a different impression. And so I came away with wow, there’s a lot of products that I’m not familiar with, for sure. But what I really liked about my visit that kind of helps cinch me come in here was I think the staff at AZ  MediQuip. And the fact that we are you know, we’re selling products selling and renting products that people need, and they’re coming to us in a time of need. And so it kind of played on, you know, things that are important to me around values and mission and, you know, empathy and taking care of folks. And certainly I thought the fact that your private pay was actually interesting to me as well, because I understand private pay, I understand retail, and I knew that really getting up to speed on the insurance and you know, all the factors that go into working with insurance or contracting with insurance providers, or Medicare, etc, etc, was going to be a much longer learning curve. And so that actually attracted me as well and I think gave me some confidence to come in as an outsider, not knowing anything about it, because it was just a retailer. 

SC: That’s such a great share on your thought process coming in. And I love that you did go visit an insurance kind of more based provider and seeing that there’s this kind of 180 in the space of healthcare where retail and reimbursement is so different. And I love that you saw the staff and that really drew you in. So now that you’ve been in this role for a year and a half, what was an expectation or an assumption you had when you started that is completely unhinged?

 LH: I think the biggest one Sue was, man, I bet the stores or the chains gonna have we’re  gonna have relationships with senior communities. And they’re gonna recommend us and it’s gonna be you know, we’re gonna that’s kind of how that works are some referrals and things of that nature. And that’s where a big part of the business, at least for us comes from. And so I was really surprised when I, you know, as I dug deeper into why that’s not really the case, certainly, with, at least for us in those established communities, there’s certainly some of that. So that was one thing that I made some assumptions is, you know, certainly talking early on to some people that operated, for example, communities, and they said, one of their questions was, “Why would somebody buy from you? You don’t take insurance?” And I was like, “Well,
because we offer products that you can’t get through insurance.” 
But again, that that mindset of why would anybody want to buy from 100%, or from a pure retailer? And so that was one of the things that really surprised me, and led me to think, well, we have some education that probably a heavy lift, but some education to do there, was one thing and I think  secondarily is certainly the importance, or, you know, for me, coming from retail, it’s pure, B to C. I mean, we’re talking about marketing, and a lot of it’s wanton, you know, it’s something that I want versus something that I need. And, you know, how do you how do you create demand with your marketing? And how much different is here, which is that’s certainly a component around awareness. And somebody’s in need, and how do you drive that, but the importance of being connected within the community of senior care, and there’s so many different organizations out there that deal in senior care, and getting connected to homecare agencies and placement agents, and certainly higher end communities for us and things of that nature, and how important that is to be to be known or, and actually getting into places like pulmonary clinics, and then just and how many of those exists, and how difficult it is to create awareness, and painting those relationships to drive sales into the store. So that’s the thing that’s been most surprising to me is that community piece and the importance of, you know, developing relationships within the community, so that you can, and you can get referrals, for example, and then send referrals back to them.

SC: I think you just kind of really lasered in on the most, when I say our industry is very provocative and drama filled. It’s because of that, it’s because that most people, especially if they’re older, have assumptions that insurance is going to pay for their home health care needs. They don’t know what’s happened behind the scenes in the last 20 years with reimbursements being cut. They just assume if I need a walker, it should be paid for if I need a wheelchair, if I if I need oxygen, it should be paid for. And I think that’s been the hardest conversation, as our industry has transitioned is with the referral sources and their clients on what is paid for and that that area of education is weird. It’s hard to talk about. So I that’s why as an outsider from our industry coming in, you see that? It’s complicated. 

LH: Oh, yeah.

SC: So with that, that understanding and that complication, what do you see are the biggest challenges and opportunities for AZ MediQuip and HME Retail?

LH: Well, I think the biggest opportuity, and I you may have mentioned this when we were chatting in advance of this, but I think one of our biggest challenges, maybe opportunities is the fact that we sell a product that nobody wants.

SC: Yep.

LH: Right. And so, you know, a year ago, and because of that, it’s not like we’re selling furniture from my past. I mean, we all sit on furniture. We all know what furniture is, we see furniture from, you know, early in childhood all the way through. And, you know, are the same thing
with a car or, you know, other clothes. You know, we’re familiar with that from early on in life. But the products we sell, whether that’s what you talked about walkers or wheelchairs, we may see them. But we, you know, we don’t think, “Well, that’s never going to be for me,” and we don’t really know that much about we don’t know, how much they cost. We don’t know, you know, when you get later into life, what’s reimbursable and what’s not. So it’s a very complicated

And so one of the again I think the biggest opportunity is, you know, how do we create education for the consumer? And so there’s an effort here in Phoenix, for example, called Senior Resource Connectors, to try to connect all these different resources, whether that’s somebody that’s an expert on Medicare, reverse mortgages, or the products that we sell or homecare agencies, etc, etc. But, you know, typically for a caregiver coming in, you don’t even know where to start. And if you don’t know where to start, then you really have a hard time getting to the finish. And so there’s a lot of bouncing around. So a year ago, my dad was struggling with lymphoma and he had lymphedema. And I’m, you know, he weighed about 300 pounds. And so if he felt was, you know, what do you do? You call EMS? Yeah, because I can’t get my dad up. So he called EMS. And that’s a story that I hear over and over and over again, but I’ve never heard it before, but I’ve heard it now. It’s been in a space and so what’s, what tools can my mom use to help get my dad up? And she had no idea where to go. And so luckily, and I’m in the space. And that can help with that. But, you know, that’s the journey that we’re on. And so how to how do we educate consumers? And I don’t know that it’s, I don’t know that we’re going to be able to actually do it effectively. But I think that’s one of the biggest opportunities we have is to figure out ways like Senior Resource Connector to provide these resources for people who don’t know where to start, and then have solutions like AZ MediQuip or you know, other places in the space that you can refer to  get them the answers that they need for their loved ones. To me, that’s one of the biggest opportunities we have. And also one of the biggest challenges.

SC: You are absolutely right. And I feel that that’s why with our demographics, the big chains have all looked at them, and said, “Oh, my gosh, we’ve we’ve got to get into this space.” And they’ve all like I said, retreated or failed, because our product is laced with fear. And even people who are incredibly resourceful, and love their parents so much, are usually unprepared when it comes to something that is inevitable, which is aging. So with that complication, you talk about the education, and we talked about selling is complicated. Your first impression of the staff, when you went into the AZ MediQuip was, “Wow, that’s a wonderful caring staff.” That really resonated with you. But there’s that fine line with a denial-based product, where you want your staff to be caring, but not pushy. You want—they know what the customer needs. But you don’t want to make them feel uncomfortable with it, but you want to get the sale. [laughs] So can you talk about this conundrum when it comes to training and preparing your staff for these conversations? 

LH: Yeah, you know, I think one of the things we have to do is we have to tap into the internal motivation of every employee. And you know, I think we certainly have some folks, probably some folks at AZ MediQuip. Yeah, they’re there to I mean, everybody’s working to pay the bills. I mean, that’s certainly a primary motivator. But I think by and large, the people that work at AZ MediQuip are there because they like taking care of people. And they like helping solve problems, and they love providing solutions. And so how do I tap into that, as a leader? How do I, you know, translate what you just talked about into—well, you’re not just you’re making a sale, but you’re actually helping somebody. 

So a recent example I heard from one of our managers was, we had a daughter come in with a walker for her—her mother’s walker, and her mother had recently fallen and broken some ribs. And so our employee was pretty excited. He was helping her out. He’s just chit chatting and talking to her during the tune up asking questions. And one of the things that the daughter offered up was, “Yeah, my mom is also in the process of getting some home oxygen,” but she’s having a hard time getting it. She’s gonna have to wait; they’re out of stock. And so that’s the message she’s getting from the insurance provider. And so we’re gonna wait and wait and wait, our manager overheard that, and, and stepped in and said, “You know, we can provide you a solution right now. So we have rental solutions, but we can also sell you an item.” Here’s the price versus having to wait, and then based on your mother’s broken ribs, how she’s sleeping at night? Is there, you know, again, discomfort? And so, you know, the manager was able to step in, and not only provide the service that was requested, which was the tune up, but also provide a solution that the daughter wasn’t looking for, to help her mother be more comfortable and get what she needed even more quickly. 

So I think the challenge is, number one, we have to educate our, our employees on the  different products that are available. And that’s a challenge given there that can be kind of complex and technical. So that’s part of it we work on really hard is product training. And the other part is how do you connect those dots when you ask questions, so that you’re actually hearing the story. And then knowing enough about the price that you can provide a solution. And that’s not being pushy. That’s providing a solution. So now the hard part for us is we got to tap into that motivation. And let people see I’m not being pushy, I’m providing a solution. Because if I don’t find that solution, if I only give the tune up on the walker, and that daughter leaves, she feels she’s satisfied. She had a great customer experience, I got exactly what I needed. They were really friendly. I love the experience. I give you a four point–I’ll give you a five point Google rating, but we didn’t provide her solution. So her mom is still going to be waiting for oxygen and she’s still gonna be uncomfortable sleeping. So that’s what we have to do as leaders we have to tap in so our job is to tap into that, that empathy there that our employees typically have and let them see what they’re really doing is providing a solution not just making a sale. 

SC: Wow, what you just share with me defines empowerment. And that’s why this podcast series is empowering human ability through empowering our independents because that experience If they had, they would have never gotten at CVS, And they would have never gotten it on Amazon. 

LH: No.

SC: And your manager and your staff changed their life because now she’s not sleeping in pain every single night, and she’s able to get her oxygen which she needs right now. I think people don’t understand that, you know, when you get older, insurance is so complicated. It’s messy, and it’s annoying, and it’s horrible. And while retail means that you have to pay out of pocket, retail can provide you with solutions right away. And so that is, at the core, the mission of why our independents are so important and why we have to thrive and coming with coming up with ways to empower our employees. And it sounds like you’re doing it and constantly
working on it.

So share with our listeners about puzzles, because we talked and I think you you’ve said it so well. You like puzzles. And the HME retail industry is like a really good business puzzle. So those who are in this industry, you must like puzzles. So share with us how the AZ MediQuip puzzle is going. Is it coming together?

 LH: Yeah, well, first of all, if my wife listens to this podcast, she’ll be surprised to hear that I like puzzles, because I don’t personally like putting together puzzles on a board. But I do love business puzzles, for sure. And so this is a puzzle. I mean, it’s really every business is a puzzle. And so as a leader, your job is to come in and understand what the key factors artists access, what the levers are in the business. And then you know, what steps can we take to drive or increase our success with each of those levers? And so, you know, how do we do those? And so I think, you know, part of the puzzle for me was understanding where does our business come from? Right? So yeah, we could do traditional marketing, retail marketing, and this works. And we’re gonna do that. Well, okay, we so that’s part of the puzzle.


But the other part of the puzzle is the community and the referral network and awareness. And, you know, making sure that we’re tapped and tied to the right people. So that’s all part of the puzzle. And then really, the public big part of the puzzle then is what separates us or what
differentiates us from other places where you can buy a product. So you mentioned Amazon, as a place that somebody can buy a lot of our products. What separates us? Well, it’s certainly immediate, immediate availability, I’m not gonna wait for it to ship, I can try it out in my store, right? And we’re going to service it, we’re going to stand behind it and service it. So how do we
compete against somebody like that? I mean, that’s, that’s part of the puzzle. That’s what differentiates us. And you know, that’s the same process with other maybe brick and mortar competitors, and how do we differentiate what makes us special. So I feel pretty good about having kind of a puzzle figured out or understanding what the key factors are to our success. But really, that’s what all that’s given me so far, Sue, it was kind of a vision or a picture of oh,
this is what success should look like. The problem is, I have a picture that looks like this. And the reality is looks something different. So how do I get from where I am to something that’s closer to the vision that I see? And what are the steps required to get there?

And so I talked about one of those, which is, you know, certainly staff training and development. And that’s one thing that we have to get from here to there, because that should improve our close rate in the store, number of customers we’re able to close, and also the average ticket—is probably going to see that go up. That leads to more success for us, but also makes us stickier, provides a much better customer experience. And then that leads to
more referrals. And so it really turns it into that kind of that flywheel as an example, we want to make sure the product in stock, we have to have the right product, we can’t have too much of the wrong product, we have to have enough of the right product. So that and that’s all part of that too. And we’re still working on that as well. And then what other products and services can we provide to this customer base? And how do we build that up? So I think I’ve got the puzzle kind of figured out, but it’s the vision that I have to really transform—or really get us from my greatest from here to there.

SC:  And that’s, that’s the fun.

LH: Yeah.

SC: That’s the fun being the CEO.

LH: And sometimes the frustration.

SC: Yes, which is all part of the journey, because I imagine that different from your previous career paths in video rental and furniture. Every time those pieces start coming closer together. You’re immediately impacting the lives of your community. And that’s the ultimate mission of AZ MediQuip and all the independence is every time you that mother and daughter have that experience. That’s another family where you’ve made their lives so much better.

And so with the different marketing strategies, because there’s so many that we have to really execute in HME retail, which ones do you feel have had the most traction?

LH: That’s a a great question. I’m still working on that part of the puzzle, I suppose. But I think we’ve had some success. So when I came here I was told, “You can’t do traditional retail advertising or promotion, it doesn’t work. It’s a needs-based business. I can’t create demand.” I said, “Well, really?” And so, you know, we tried some things last year, and I discovered that’s not entirely true. You can—now I think it’s true, we’re in a needs-based business. And so while can’t create need, I can create a word—I can, I can certainly drive more awareness. And so somebody has a need, they’re going to come to my location. And so we had some success around, you know, more traditional, you know, holiday weekend, advertising promotions, things of that nature, driving some traffic, and driving some good sales. We had, for example,
a really strong Black Friday and Saturday last year, right. And again, they said, “Well, you can’t you know, we can’t do that.” “Well, I don’t know, it looks like we can.”

And part of that is I heard recently, because I’m still trying to figure out seasonality, candidly, what seasonality looks like. But I heard somebody recently say, Well, you know, around the holidays, you see demand for Assisted Living go up. Because you’re seeing your parents, it’s been a while maybe since you’ve seen your parents and you look at me go, “Oh, my goodness, mom and dad needs some help.” And I thought, well, yeah, that makes sense. That might be why a Black Friday promotion worked really well. So we just saw mom and dad the day before. And they clearly need some stuff. And so again, so I think there’s some of that you can play: the natural rhythms around the holidays, for example, when you’re being exposed mom and dad again and see where they’re at, where I think we could sell more product, again, because there’s a need, and we’re going to step in and fill that need up. But I think the other part is, again, continue to, to market to and build relationships with other agencies. And so that’s been a big, big part of what I’m working on to over the past few years, developing stronger partnerships. And we just launched one, actually, this week, with an organization here in Phoenix that does home safety assessments. And they have a licensed physical therapist and occupational therapist that goes in home will do a home safety assessment. And so you know, they tend to be focused on some white remodels and some bathroom parts, but we saw a lot of stuff they don’t. So we’re going to refer people to them for that for a risk assessment, or safety assessment, and then they’re gonna send us some business around products. And so I think, you know, how do we do more of that, from a marketing standpoint as well? 

SC: Well, what I’ve seen it with—you’re our third guest, our third podcast with each of the guests we have is that marketing is a multifaceted approach. It’s not just straight advertising. It’s not just referral sources. It’s not just in-store; it’s all areas of marketing to come at it. And it sounds like you’re doing that I liked that you’re combining kind of the need awareness with the promotion together. Because sometimes you just don’t know when it’s going to lock in with a customer. But that sounds really exciting.

So I started this podcast with demographics that should be driving our industry. And those demographics are growing in our favor. What is your outlook for AZ MediQuip and the independent retailers in our industry? And do you think the big chains like CVS or Walmart will ever figure it out?

LH: Well I’ll start with that second part of the question, I guess, as it relates to CVS or Walmart… Do I think they’ll figure it out? I think the question I have is why would I go there? If I’m a customer, right? Why would I go to Walmart, so or the CVS? You know, CVS is a convenience store. That’s what they are, that they’re a convenience store that sells drugs. And Walmart is a mass merchant, that typically people don’t like the experience, you go there for price. And so I think “Why would I go there versus online?” Is one of the questions I’ve gotten, I don’t have a great answer for that. I think about CVS or even Walmart to an extent their business models about margin, or I think the CVS when I think about them, I think, you know, certainly they’re looking for margin, they’re looking for convenience and looking for velocity.

So they want to turn their products pretty quickly. And so I think I see him selling commodities, they can certainly step in. And so I think an entry level walker perhaps, or something that I needed really quickly. And you know, I think CVS is doing some of that with even resume when it comes to CPAP supplies, right? So they’re selling stuff like that, that I can grab and go.

But if we’re talking about something that’s complicated, we’re gonna take a lot of floor space, I don’t see him going there. Because I think it’s it takes somebody who’s knowledgeable about the product to really sell it. And then I don’t think they’re ever going to do that. They don’t they don’t staff the store that way. They’ve got somebody checkout, and they’ve got people in the pharmacy, nobody on the floor, you’re not gonna get service at Walmart, either. And so you’re on your own trying to figure it out.

SC: Right.

LH: So I don’t know if they’ll do it. They might do it online. They might dabble in it, but I don’t see him being really successful. And that’s why. And I think that’s where we stepped in as the retailer and go “Those are the things that we provide.” So it’s hard pressed to compete on commodities, they will always be difficult for us to compete on commodities versus an Amazon or a Walmart or probably even a CVS or Walgreens. We can, but it’s difficult. We’re not going to win necessarily on price. We’re going to we have to win other places. And that’s where our empathetic staff steps and it makes a difference. Right? That’s what we’re known for. So that’s how we compete against them. And that’s why I don’t necessarily see that They’re going to take a big bite of the apple from us, because I just don’t—that’s not their business model. They can sell some stuff, but not complicated stuff.

As far as the industry itself, I think that’s what we have to lean into. Right. And I think we have to lean into what makes us different. I think on the insurance side, you know, I’ve been exposed enough for this for the independent retailer, that is certainly probably more insurance than retail, which is predominantly a lot of them. And that’s tough. I continue to see the 75/25 thing. Well, guess what, still didn’t get passed. We’re now into March, you know, how do you survive on rates from 2015? On reimbursement rates from that far back? I don’t get it. And so we’re dealing with a an insurance model, that the government is telling you what you can charge. And there’s nothing on the other side about what it costs that’s being updated. So I think that’s really challenging. And so that’s, I think it’s a reason to think more about retail, to help get some more margin based on what you’re seeing there.

And then recently on his conversation with some other folks and talking about some recent changes with lymphedema, and what’s gonna get reimbursed and won’t be audited if I sell somebody some socks that has a lymphedema diagnosis, but is that gonna stand up and I go, “Oh, my God, how much time I must bring damages–they’re wondering if that compression sock is going to be reimbursed or not. And I just think, unfortunately, if it were me, I’m gonna, I’ll sell you a sock, but I’m not going to deal with the insurance stuff. Because, you know, the risk I have, versus the reward is challenging. And so I think, if I were certainly in it in the insurance space, I would certainly stay there. But I’d be thinking about how can I sell more retail?

SC: Yes, Amen. And that’s what – I love that you’re sharing this as somebody who has been in retail for 30 years but come into a very complicated industry and how you said brain-damage and soul sucking the reimbursement side of it can be. But on a brighter note, AZ MediQuip is 100% retail and now that you’ve been in this role for a year and a half, I wanted to ask you,  because I asked this podcast with “How are you doing?”  How do you feel at the end of every day? Because as a CEO you kind of have like an accounting with your feelings at the end of the day. How you feel these days?

LH: Well Sue, I sleep really well at night, most of the time. Not everyday, but generally speaking, I sleep really well, which is a great thing. I love the people I work with. I love the team we have here because you know it feels, I guess it’s pretty well aligned with my diet. It feels like a mission, feels kind of mission-related. We’re taking care of people; I love that. And so that helps me, that makes me feel good about the work that I’m doing. And the people that I’m working with and the people that we’re taking care of. And I still think, I still believe that we’ve got our — to grow in the future, which is exciting.

SC: That is exciting. And you said something about empathy and empathetic staff and I feel like you just nailed something: your ultimate competitive edge. Well I wanted to thank you, Lane, for this compelling and thoughtful discussion. I’ve so enjoyed it. And I have a feeling that you’re going to master this business puzzle, perhaps the most challenging one of your

So as we close up this episode number 3, I wanted to thank you lane and thank all the independents for being our force of good well-being and empowerment in your community. So be sure to subscribe or follow the HME180 Podcast on your preferred podcast medium. Also you can check out the HME180 website, a dynamic destination website completely committed to educating and empowering the HME community and driving those connections to you, our independents.

So thank you again, take care, and we’ll see  you again on the next episode.

LH: Alright, thanks Sue.

SC: Thanks Lane!


Outro: A transcript and a copy of the visual companion guide is available on our website  at Your host was Sue Chen, Chief Educational Officer of NOVA Medical Products. Our special guest today was Lane Hamm from AZ Mediquip in Arizona. This podcast was produced and edited by Melissa Grace Klose. Our theme music was created by Rebecca Klose. Thank you for listening to The HME180 Podcast and we will see you all again next month.

Ready to Join the NOVA Network? Connect with Us.

What is your name?

How can we get in touch with you?

Are you interested in joining the NOVA Network?

Let us know what questions you have and we'll get back to you.