One of my funniest memories from surveying was many years ago at a small DME company in the Midwest. The staff was pleasant and accommodating and had been well prepared for the survey. But for some reason (probably related to a co-worker’s retelling of a “bad” survey that she’d gone through), the staff was pretty nervous about the accreditation visit. I pride myself on NOT presenting an intimidating attitude, but the staff at this place thought I was the police, the IRS, and the guy in charge of the Inquisition rolled into one. I tried my best to put the staff at ease. At one point, I asked a customer service representative about how they conveyed information on the patient’s rights and responsibilities to new customers. She fumbled through a pretty good answer. I asked her if she could name one of the responsibilities and she answered that they need to inform the company if they move or if their insurance changes (a good answer). I asked her if she could name a right and she froze up. Finally, she took a deep breath and blurted out: “The right to remain silent”.
DME owners and managers often cite quality improvement (QI) and/or performance improvement (PI) as one of the most difficult concepts to understand and one of the most difficult programs to implement within their businesses. And industry consultants and surveyors find the so-called QI Standards some of the most frequently cited standards for deficiencies and recommendations, and one of the areas in which they spend the most consultative time educating companies.
I’m not going to name names, but many years ago, as a young surveyor, I was inspecting delivery vehicles at a place (the location will remain unnamed) and observed one of the worst safety hazards I ever saw in my career. A delivery technician who covered a two-state territory had been in the adjacent state where fireworks were legal, and decided to stock up for the
The very first standard in the HQAA Accreditation Standards is ORG 1 MISSION & VISION. The “mission & vision” standard is the first standard for a reason: the mission and vision set the tone for your organization’s corporate culture and define who you are and why you exist. They represent not only what your organization does, but why it does it. The “how it does it” will come later with the various policies & procedures, but this first standard talks about something more basic and philosophical.
Topics: HME Accreditation Requirements
Calendar year is a very predictable January 1-December 31 each year. With very few exceptions, this is “the year” and most folks say “Happy New Year” on January 1st. The exception to that is in the world of business—where there are arcane and unusual, but well thought out, differences and exceptions.
Accreditation documentation requirements for the human resource files are relatively straightforward, yet the human resource (“HR”) standards continue to be some of the most frequently cited standards and generate the most questions from DME customers. HQAA’s recent standards revisions and updates included several of the HR standards. This fact, along with the continued questions and citations for HR standards suggest it was time to revisit the personnel file and review expectations.
During that little pandemic thing we dealt with 2020-2022, our structure, processes, and even values changed in many ways. It can be argued that many of these changes made us stronger, more flexible, and more efficient. Think of things like teleconferencing for meetings, billers working from home, porch drop off deliveries, and virtual equipment set up/instruction. We, as an industry, were pretty resilient. Some of the changes however were generally perceived to be negatives. For instance: we lost in-person customer service skills. Good, bad, or indifferent, our industry adapted to these changes quickly. In some cases, it’s safe to say we’re never going back.
A woman in the grocery store who happened to be in line in front of me realized an item she was buying from the frozen food section was past its expiration date by about a month. She came to this realization perusing her items and just in time to bring it to the check-out clerk’s attention. The clerk admitted she didn’t realize frozen food even HAD an expiration date, and called a stock boy over to replace the item. The woman turned to me to apologize for the delay and said something about how the quality control in the store wasn’t what it used to be.
From coffee shops to hardware stores, home appliances to automobiles, food at grocery stores and restaurants, lumber, paint, clothing, eggs, and even DMEPOS…. how many times have you heard the phrase “supply chain issues” in the last few years? Along with a crippling pandemic, staffing shortages, and a couple major equipment recalls, supply chain issues were something we all had to cope with and learn to work around in the marketplace. It became an almost mantra-like excuse, explaining away why goods were not available, or why there were delays, or why the cost of product and shipping was rising so dramatically.
On February 2nd, the movie “GROUNDHOG DAY” played almost continuously on a cable station. You couldn’t miss it if you tried. Funny, and –dare I say— “timeless”, the movie is about a guy stuck in a pattern of repeating the day over and over and over again. Humor ensues, but the theme is his frustration with living the same tired old day out repeatedly. It’s very frustrating to see the same mistakes made repeatedly and its human nature to try to correct those mistakes. Thus, the revised standards.
Topics: HME Accreditation Requirements