Keeping Up With HME Accreditation Standards

Posted by Mary Nicholas on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 @ 04:05 PM

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Or ... running on the treadmill and staying in the same place fast?

Reimbursements have dropped, goods cost more, employees would like a raise and as the business owner, you are barely staying in the black. You constantly make cuts to your expenses when you can, but the situation still is less than desirable.

Remember the good old days when you were paid enough to make a decent living for yourself and your employees AND provide quality products and services to you customers? Some who have been in our business for many years refer to these as the “Golden Commode Days.” As we know, those days are long gone, and today’s mantra is certainly to do things with a more efficient, effective and meaningful process.

HQAA understands how difficult it is to stay on top in this business. The extra work involved with the accreditation process for you and your staff can divert resources from other areas of the business that need attention.

There is a way to make things a little easier and take some of the stress out of your next survey -- by thinking about your accreditation requirements in a way that makes the process more palatable.

  • Start by looking at your previous survey results report and review the deficiencies the surveyor found. If the surveyor were to walk through the door today, would you be cited for the same deficiencies? What about those areas that you worked on so there would be no deficiencies for survey – are you still in compliance, or did you let things slip because there were other more important fires to put out?
  • Look at the HME accreditation standards, prioritize them, and place them on your calendar to address at manageable intervals. Space them out so you have a couple per week to review. When you do review them, ask yourself if you are still in compliance and if not, what needs to be fixed to be compliant? The key is to space the tasks out and not let them become “all-consuming” at any one time. Remember to prioritize and to delegate if possible so you and your employees won’t have to work so hard in the couple of months leading up to your next survey. CMS expects you to be survey-ready every day, not to “gear up” to accreditation compliance every 2½ years. You can use simple tools that you already may have, such as Outlook. If you can’t get to the standards when you have a review scheduled, there is always the “snooze” button on Outlook where you can reset the reminder for a future time. Never delete a task until completed – this keeps the issue in front of you until you know you are in compliance.
  • Another often overlooked benefit of accreditation is that surveyors can find deficiencies and concerns, that if found by another regulatory agency such as CMS, FDA, or the OIG, may put your business in serious jeopardy, resulting in actions that are much more costly and time consuming than an accreditation survey. Our surveyors are trained to help identify risk areas in your business and, in fact, the accreditation standards have roots in the risk management issues of DME. If you think of these standards as mitigating your risk, they may take on more value to you and your operation.    

The stress involved with a survey is high enough – you shouldn’t add to it by being unprepared and thus experience the consequences of a survey with poor results and multiple deficiencies. Remove some of the stress by preparing for the process of re-accreditation a little at a time and ahead of time.

HQAA’s ACT Service helps to minimize the amount of stress leading up to survey, as it helps keep you organized so that items aren’t ignored or let go. The ACT Service takes the focus areas of accreditation, breaks them up in to small tasks and then offers opportunities to share the responsibilities.

If you need a better way to organize your time and manage your requirements ongoing, the ACT Service just might be for you. For more info about ACT, please contact Gabriel Nicholas at gabe.nicholas@hqaa.org or 866.490.7980.

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Topics: Quality Standards, HME Accreditation Requirements, Compliance