2023. We’re twenty-three years into the new millennium. Medicare is close to sixty years old. Time is marching on quickly—relentlessly, some would say. New Year’s Eve parties continue the great tradition of partying into the wee hours, ringing in the New Year with a toast, and getting up January 1st with a renewed optimism, a positive outlook on life, and a list of resolutions to improve. You might say it is a great example of continuous quality improvement.
Topics: Employee Training, Security, Quality Improvement, Renewing Accreditation, Compliance, Process Improvement, Materials Management, Showroom, Retail, Warehouse, Work, Disaster Preparedness, Business Practices, Marketing, Equipment
When you reach a certain age, your friends start to retire. Every group of friends has a guy (or a girl, as the case may be) who is the “pioneer”—the first to retire. He or she reports back to the circle of friends on how it feels. What Medicare and Social Security is like to experience on your own. How you fill your days. Sleeping in. Going to the coffee shop with your fellow retirees. Working on all the projects, hobbies, and activities that you’ve been putting off for the many, many years. My friends started to retire a few years ago and they describe retirement in fairly glowing terms ranging from “not that bad” to “the best part of my life.” It’s a weird feeling—something akin to realizing that it snuck up on you. But I’m at that point in my life where friends retire.
In early November, each year, our minds turn to Thanksgiving. No surprise that Thanksgiving ranks as one of many American’s favorite holidays. It’s a time of positive reflection, a time to literally give thanks for all the blessings in our lives, and the gateway to the triumvirate of important holidays (Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s Day). And then there’s the food: a grand feast of turkey, ham, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, rolls, and pecan and pumpkin pie. For many people, it’s a glorious four-day weekend of eating, watching football games, visiting with family and friends, and reflection on the past year.
In our January 2022 blog, we talked about fraud, waste, and abuse and touched on compliance programs. The article prompted questions and comments from quite a few organizations and questions of late suggest it might be a good time to do a deeper dive on compliance programs.
Compliance “programs” are sets of policies & procedures specifically designed to help an organization adhere to law and regulation. These policies and procedures are specifically set up to detect, prevent, and correct fraud, waste, and abuse. Medicare requires any provider to have such a program and they have very specific content they want these policies to contain.
Harry Truman, the 33rd President of the United States had a famous slogan, which appeared on a plaque on his desk: “The Buck Stops Here”. Referring to “passing the buck”; that is, shifting blame or responsibility, the saying demonstrates a person’s willingness and ability to take responsibility, find solutions, and lead by example.
A dictionary defines disclosure as “the action of making new information known or the action or process of revealing information.” In the medical world, healthcare providers define disclosure as “a release of information to persons or entities other than the patient who is the subject of the information.”
Just about every July 4th, I’m reminded of a holiday weekend in the late 1980’s, when I was just a pup. Well, not a “pup”, but a young respiratory therapist working in homecare and enjoying the Monday-Friday routine with no weekends, no holidays, and no night shifts. As an RT, to be in your late 20’s, and achieve a job with no shift work and no holidays was pretty amazing. I had mentors from the local hospitals that were my parent’s generation who were still working every other weekend and still working shifts and holidays. This particular July 4th fell on a Monday or a Friday (I don’t remember which), meaning there was a three-day weekend associated with it. Picnics, fireworks, getting together with friends, and a trip to the lake were all on the schedule. For the first time since college, I wasn’t going to be working a night shift or a holiday day over this important summer holiday!
You could write a book about “employee vs. contractor” pros, cons, legality, and operational efficiency. In fact, there are books written about that very subject. There are also lawyers who specialize in employment law who advise companies about how to structure their staffing around those two broad categories of staff. While accreditation organizations won’t delve into the legalities (that’s for the lawyers to do), accreditation standards DO in fact address both categories of staffing.
Topics: Employee Training, Personnel Files, HQAA Accreditation, Clinical Practice Guidelines, Quality Care, Retail, Delivery, Clinical Respiratory Services, Competence, Customer Service, Business Practices, Surveys, Equipment
Those of us who have been in the DME industry for enough years remember when every DME organization in the country had a storage room full of vertical files and/or bank boxes full of old patient records. The boxes were stored in piles, often piled up to the ceiling. Usually there were labels or writing on the boxes—something like “April 1987-January 1988” or “1990—A-L”. The boxes and filing cabinets were full of manila and Pend-a-flex folders labeled with patient names and chock full of medical records, billing information, social security numbers, dates of birth, and enough demographic information to make a telemarketer’s day.
It's tempting to believe that those Amazon trucks that zip down your street every day are a completely new phenomenon. But if you believed that, you’d be wrong. Today, Amazon trucks descend on neighborhoods bringing appliances, clothes, books & music, and even groceries. A generation earlier, we ordered music from flyers in the newspaper—carefully selecting stamps with our favorite titles and sticking them on the order page, promising to buy four or five additional albums in return for a half dozen free ones up front. And the generation before that ordered small appliances and kitchenware from Jewel T men. And the generation before that could order up a mail order “kit house” from the Sears Roebuck Catalog. Truth be told, mail order is as old as the mail itself. Subsequent generations have refined the practice over the last century and a half; but the practice of mail order anything is not new!