Steve DeGenaro

Recent Posts

What Are You Proud Of?

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Wed, Apr 10, 2024 @ 04:05 PM

Employees, managers, and owners of DME organizations accredited by HQAA may have noticed a familiar question that usually pops up during the survey: “What is your organization (or “this location”) proud of? It is almost de rigueur for the surveyors to ask that question at some point during the survey process. Asked that question by a surveyor, the tendency is to consider how it relates to a standard and it’s only natural to think “Gee, how do I answer that” or “What’s the ‘right’ answer here”. Truth is there’s no right or wrong answer. The surveyor is trying to paint a picture of the organization to enhance and supplement their own understanding of your company.

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Topics: Surveys

On Site Follow Up VS Written Follow Up

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Wed, Mar 06, 2024 @ 08:02 AM

Imagine you are either sitting down to hear a debriefing after your accreditation survey or opening up the report from your accreditation survey. In either/both cases, the surveyor or the accreditation agency will most likely be breaking down any areas of deficiency into issues requiring on site follow up or issues requiring written follow up. Different accrediting bodies call these categories by different names, but in all cases, they are essentially issues that you need another visit to clear or issues that can be cleared through some type of written follow up report.

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Topics: Renewing Accreditation, HQAA Accreditation, Compliance, Business Practices, Surveys


Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Fri, Feb 16, 2024 @ 10:12 AM

A “contract” is defined as “an agreement between two parties that creates an obligation to perform or not perform a particular duty”. Organizations are sometimes taken aback when a surveyor asks them to see any contracts they have in place during the survey. Accreditation agencies are certainly not law firms nor are surveyors lawyers, but the contracts a DME organization has in place have relevance to the survey process and the quality standards.

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Topics: Business Practices

New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Fri, Jan 12, 2024 @ 09:27 AM

When the ball dropped at the stroke of midnight January 1 this year, did you make any resolutions? Most people do—sometimes a new diet, an exercise program (January 1st is traditionally the busiest day in a gym!), a more responsible financial plan, or some version of “be a better person” by saying something nice to a new person every day or trying to bestow a compliment on a stranger.

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Topics: Employee Training, Billing, Showroom, Retail, Customer Service, Business Practices, Marketing, Equipment

Ending the Year in Style

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Fri, Dec 15, 2023 @ 03:05 PM

I imagine it’s the same in other industries—December in DME can be a hectic, scatterbrained race to the finish. (“The finish” in this case being the end of the year). Financially speaking, it’s a time to try to maximize earnings and pad the bottom line, wrapping up billing cycles and completing tasks to prepare financially for the new year. Patient/customers that have met their deductible are anxious trying to consume healthcare before a new deductible cycle begins. December 31st is the end of a quarter, the end of a month, and the end of the year and there’s two major holidays –Christmas and New Year to work around. Staff wants to spend time with their families. And of course, company holiday parties abound.

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Topics: Employee Training, Personnel Files, Billing, HQAA Accreditation, Process Improvement, Materials Management, Showroom, Delivery, Warehouse, Customer Service, Disaster Preparedness, Emergencies, Business Practices, Infection Control, DMEPOS

The Surveyor’s Questions

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Fri, Nov 10, 2023 @ 09:16 AM

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”.

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Topics: Employee Training, Billing, HME Accreditation Requirements, Clinical Practice Guidelines, Retail, Delivery

Quality Improvement Indicators

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Mon, Oct 09, 2023 @ 09:03 AM

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.

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Topics: Quality Improvement, HME Accreditation Requirements, Process Improvement, Customer Service, Business Practices

What Goes on the Truck (and What Doesn’t)

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Thu, Sep 14, 2023 @ 11:43 AM

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

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Topics: HME Accreditation Requirements, Avoiding Deficiencies, Delivery, Oxygen, Equipment

Mission & Vision: The First Standard for a Reason

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Tue, Aug 15, 2023 @ 02:45 PM

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.

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Topics: HME Accreditation Requirements

Happy New Fiscal Year

Posted by Steve DeGenaro on Mon, Jul 10, 2023 @ 04:12 PM

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.

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Topics: Quality Improvement, Quality Standards, Process Improvement, Avoiding Deficiencies, Disaster Preparedness, Business Practices, Equipment