Ask any owner what they think the most intrusive part of an accreditation survey is and chances are pretty good they’ll mention the financial documents review portion. In my experience, this is because of two equally important reasons: 1) It is certainly information that a business owner does not like or feel comfortable sharing, and 2) Many -if not most- DME business owners are more conversant in and knowledgeable talking about the day to day issues they face in their businesses. Things like new billing software, technological advances with medical equipment, and those new “Sprinter” delivery vehicles are all topics that they love to chat about with fellow business owners. How much money they actually put in their pockets and how difficult (or easy) it was to pay the bills that keep the lights on are topics we just don’t feel as comfortable sharing.
On one of the few flights I took the last quarter of 2020 (thanks, Covid!), a seatmate struck up a conversation with me. Yes, it’s still possible to do these simple and rather “human” things we took for granted before the pandemic—even while wearing facemasks. The conversation started with the usual “So, what do you do for a living?” question. A couple exchanges with my new friend later, I found myself drilling down into what DMEPOS is and some of the myriad types of equipment and supplies that fall into the Medicare definition.
Nothing says “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holiday Season” like a good audit. The end of the year is an arbitrary date to be sure; but it’s a good marker for reminding us that we need to check our businesses to ensure we’re still compliant with the multitude of law and regulation these businesses face. As the holiday season approaches, let’s look at a quick checklist of audit activities we can perform to keep up with our complex and ever-changing industry.
One of the most important tasks a surveyor will perform during your organization’s survey is the patient record review. Whether this is done by combing through manila or Pend-a-Flex folders, or going through an electronic record on computer software with your staff, the patient record is one of the most crucial pieces of documentation to be reviewed during survey.
Surveyors for all the accrediting organizations are back on the road now, surveying up a storm and working to catch up the backlog of new customers and ongoing customers who were scheduled for survey in that March to July 2020 time period. It’s good to be back doing what we love, even with some accommodations and new processes in place.
As the world slowly but surely returns to normal, surveyors will take to the road once again to visit durable medical equipment organizations across the United States. For several months CMS suspended the accreditation process. On August 12, 2020, CMS gave the approval to resume surveys both onsite and virtual visits (with a follow up onsite visit), or a combination of onsite and virtual survey. With these new guidelines, CMS and the accrediting bodies are beginning to resume surveys with slightly revised procedures and protocols.
There is a restaurateur in Columbus Ohio, let’s call him “Aaron,” who has opened and operates dozens of high-end, upscale restaurants in and around the Columbus area. There are several steakhouses, seafood, Italian, and other “concept” restaurants that bear his name. His name on a place guarantees a following and customers flock back for the good food and the good experience. I’ve been to many of his places and they never disappoint. The food is sometimes outstanding, sometimes just pretty good, but the service is consistently the best in the industry. I’ve never eaten in one of his places—in fact, I’ve never talked to anyone who’s eaten in one of his places—where the service was anything less than impeccable.
Topics: Customer Service
Because of the nature of our work, the durable medical equipment industry did not close our doors, shelter in place, or shut down for the Covid-19 Pandemic. We did, however, change the way we do business in many ways. Some of these changes will undoubtedly get back to normal as our nation and the world climb out of the pandemic. And of course, many of these changes will become the “new normal” and are destined to remain changed forever. At the time this blog article is being written, HQAA is carefully monitoring the industry as well as law and regulation and CMS policy to determine how accreditation surveys will be performed in both the short and long term. More on that in the weeks to come.
Topics: Employee Training, HIPAA, HME Accreditation Requirements, Patient File Requirements, Materials Management, Showroom, Retail, Delivery, Oxygen, Warehouse, Customer Service, Business Practices, Marketing, Infection Control
A phrase we’re hearing a lot through this crisis and pandemic is “new normal”. As in, there’s a new normal out there that involves social distancing, wearing masks, working from home, restaurants and non-essential businesses closed or working limited hours, and on and on and on. Every person has had some aspect of their life changed in sometimes small, sometimes profound ways. Of course, this applies to medical equipment providers as much as anyone else.
Here we are several months into the pandemic. It appears perhaps the worst is behind us and the world is slowly starting to re-open. For many, the novelty of sheltering in place has worn off and folks are ready to get back to work. In the durable medical equipment industry, work has continued as our companies have been considered “essential services” and for the most part, stayed open and done business during and despite Covid-19.